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Master of Frankfurt: 7 interesting facts

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By Gwylym Owen

The Master of Frankfurt (1460–c. 1533) was a Flemish Renaissance painter active in Antwerp between roughly 1480 and 1520. Although he probably never visited Frankfurt am Main, his pronounce derives from two paintings commissioned from patrons in that city, the Holy Kinship (c. 1503) in the Frankfurt Historical Museum and a Crucifixion in the Städel museum.

He is one of many anonymous artists identifiable by their painting style but not by name. The Master of Frankfurt is, however, often thought to be a Hendrik van Wueluwe, an artist famous in Antwerp going on for the similar time as the anonymous painter but on the other hand unconnected to any paintings.

His dated Self portrait of the artist with his wife in its native frame (1496; Royal Museum of Fine Arts, Antwerp) reveals that the artiste was 36 years obsolete at the times it was made, as competently as a supporter of Antwerp’s Guild of St. Luke.

If he is the same artist as Van Wueluwe, then he was moreover dean of the guild six times. Attributed paintings intensify his self-portrait, the Festival of the Archers (1493; Royal Museum of Fine Arts, Antwerp), and the two paintings in Frankfurt.

The Master of Frankfurt is then known for painting numerous copies after earlier Netherlandish painters such as Rogier van der Weyden and Hugo van der Goes for the open market and for developing, around 1500 in Antwerp, a new artistic style to the side of his more famous contemporary Quentin Metsys.

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