Catalan Historical Review, No 8 (2015)

Gothic painting in the Catalan-speaking lands between the 14th and 15th centuries

Rosa Alcoy

Abstract


Gothic painting in the Catalan-speaking lands evolved over a dense fabric left by 13th century art, which had gradually shed its Byzantine legacies. By the year 1300, the Byzantine model had clearly become a thing of the past, murals were still the primary technique and panel and miniature paintings were beginning to gain ground. Over the magnificent backdrop of the reign of Jaume II, the second quarter of the 14th century became a golden age for the Catalan Gothic and a foundational period for the subsequent painting tradition.
The workshop of Ferrer Bassa, who was cognizant of the culture of Giotto and his Tuscan colleagues, received commissions from the court, while the art cultivated in Pisa and Siena was being interpreted by several studios of extraordinary interest in the Kingdom of Mallorca. The Italianising profile of painting survived the bubonic plague (1348), although painters like Destorrents, the Serra brothers, Valldebriga and Llorenç Saragossa were taking numerous of its aspects in new directions. In the last few decades of the 14th century, the expectations of local studios grew and the number of centres capable of producing quality painting multiplied. Barcelona remained prominent with Lluís Borrassà, Guerau Gener, Joan Mates and Jaume Cabrera, but it lost its hegemony as Valencia summoned an indisputable series of leading figures, including Pere Nicolau, Gherardo Starnina, Marzal de Sax, the Gonçal Perises, Miquel Alcanyís and Jaume Mateu, who gave prominence to the international Gothic, which was also practised by the schools and studios in Castellón, Morella, Tortosa, Tarragona, Lleida, Girona, Perpignan and Mallorca. Based on the latest and most significant contributions to the subject, this article will survey the most famous painting from a highly creative period, which takes us from 1300 until the early decades of the 15th century.

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ISSN: 2013-4088 (electronic edition); 2013-407X (print edition)