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Introduction to the Exhibition-Michel Sittow: Estonian Painter at the Courts of Renaissance Europe

John Hand, curator of northern Renaissance paintings, National Gallery of Art. Undoubtedly the greatest Renaissance artist from Estonia, Michel Sittow (c. 1469-1525) was born in Reval (now Tallinn in present-day Estonia), quite likely studied in Bruges with Hans Memling, and worked at the courts of renowned European royals such as King Ferdinand of Aragon and Queen Isabella of Castile. Organized by the Art Museum of Estonia, Tallinn, and the National Gallery of Art, the exhibition Michel Sittow: Estonian Painter at the Courts of Renaissance Europe marks the occasion of the centennial of the Estonian Republic in 2018. On view at the Gallery from January 28 through May 13, 2018, the exhibition represents most of Sittow's small oeuvre through some 20 works. In this lecture held on March 11, John Hand examines Sittow's art in a broader context, including his relationship to Netherlandish contemporaries and a possible collaboration with Juan de Flandes.