National Gallery of Art - THE COLLECTION
image of The Martyrdom of Saint Catherine Antwerp 16th Century (Possibly Matthys Cock)
Antwerp 16th Century (painter)
Matthys Cock (painter)
Netherlandish, c. 1509 - 1548
The Martyrdom of Saint Catherine, c. 1540
oil on plywood transferred from panel
overall: 62.2 x 118.2 cm (24 1/2 x 46 9/16 in.) framed: 86.3 x 141.6 x 8.2 cm (34 x 55 3/4 x 3 1/4 in.)
Samuel H. Kress Collection
1952.2.18
Not on View
From the Tour: Antwerp in the Early 1500s
Object 5 of 7

As Europeans came to understand the world through printed maps and geographies, landscape emerged as a popular subject. The Italian artist and biographer Giorgio Vasari noted that “there is no cobbler’s house without its landscape because one becomes attracted by their pleasant view and the working of depth.” Here the torture of Saint Catherine is overwhelmed by the scenery in a way typical of the panoramic “world landscapes” painted by northern artists. Perspective and point of view are manipulated to provide the most information possible: this is a God’s-eye view that sees everything simultaneously. Varied terrain and captivating detail compel the viewer to travel across the picture with his eyes.

This painting may be the work of Matthys Cock, whose brother Hieronymus was a well-known publisher of prints, including many by Pieter Bruegel. Notice the distinctive mountain crags here and similar ones in other landscapes nearby painted by followers of Bruegel and Joachim Patinir. It was Patinir who introduced the world landscape, and these rock formations are found in the Dinant region of southern Belgium, his birthplace. Perhaps Patinir’s landscape tradition was transmitted through Bruegel’s familiarity with the works of Matthys Cock.

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Artist Information (Antwerp 16th Century)
Artist Information (Matthys Cock)
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