He painted the new pastoral mythologies and half-length portraits, often of idealized beauties who, then as now, were enticingly suspected of being portraits of Venice's famous courtesans. He also painted religious pieces, in particular developing the sacra conversazioned. In other, secular, groups something seems to occurring between the figures, though exactly what is unclear. All these types of painting were patronized by wealthy Venetians for their homes.
He also painted traditional vertical altarpieces for churches inside Venice and around the Venetian territories on the mainland.
Palma's mature work from the 1520s shows a "High Renaissance style, characterized by his mastery of contrapposto, the enrichment of his high-keyed palette and the development of a dignified and diverse repertory of ideal human types in conservative compositions. More on Palma Vecchio
More broadly, a Judas kiss may refer to "an act appearing to be an act of friendship, which is in fact harmful to the recipient" More on the Betrayal of Christ
Till-Holger Borchert situates this works in the immediate milieu of the workshop of Derick Baegert and his son Jan in Wesel.
Derick Baegert, (?), ca. 1440 - Wesel, ca. 1515, was the head of a family of painters who worked in the Rhineland area in Germany during the last third of the 15th century and the first third of the 16th. Baegert organised a productive workshop in Wesel with his son Jan and Jan Joest, who was possibly his nephew. He also worked in Dortmund, Cologne and Kalkar. Stylistic similarities between his work and that of the Utrecht school suggests that he trained there. In 1476 he is recorded in Wesel, a city where his son worked as an independent master in 1490. Father and son travelled together to the Low Countries in 1482, a fact that is crucial for the evolution of their art. Although he borrowed elements from Netherlandish art, Derick’s style always remained close to that of the late Gothic. He tended to locate his figures in a narrow zone that acts as an intermediary point between the foreground and background. More on Derick Baegert
The works were apparently the product of a large workshop that specialized in small-scale panels depicting aristocratic young ladies at half-length. The ladies are engaging in various activities such as reading, writing, or playing musical instruments and are typically placed in a wood-panelled interior or against a neutral background. Some of the women are represented with an ointment jar, the attribute of Mary Magdalene. To the Master are also attributed a few paintings of mythological subjects and copies of standardized compositions such as the Crucifixion, the Deposition, the Virgin of Sorrows, St Jerome and Lucretia.
There is no agreement on the Master’s identity and the place and period of his activity. Antwerp, Bruges, Ghent, Mechelen and the French court have been proposed for the location of his workshop. Estimates for his period of activity vary from the early to the late 16th century. More on The Master of the Female Half-Lengths
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