Flemish Northern Renaissance Manuscript Illuminator, ca.1483-1561
Simon Bening (1483?C1561) was a 16th century miniature painter of the Ghent-Bruges school, the last major artist of the Netherlandish tradition.
Bening was trained in his father Alexander Bening's miniature painting workshop in Ghent. He made his own name after moving to Bruges. His specialty was the book of hours, but by his time these were becoming relatively unfashionable, and only produced for royalty and the very rich. He also created genealogical tables and portable altarpieces on parchment. Many of his finest works are Labours of the Months for Books of Hours which are largely small scale landscapes, at that time a nascent genre of painting. In other respects his style is relatively little developed beyond that of the years before his birth, but his landscapes serve as a link between the 15th century illuminators and Peter Brueghel. His self-portrait and other portraits equally are early examples of the portrait miniature. He served as dean of the calligraphers, booksellers, illuminators, and bookbinders in the Guild of Saint John and Saint Luke.
He created books for German rulers, like Cardinal Albrecht of Brandenburg, and royalty like Emperor Charles V and Don Fernando, the Infante of Portugal.
The artistic tradition continued in his family. His eldest daughter, Levina Teerlinc, became a miniature painter, mostly of portrait miniatures and another daughter became a dealer in paintings, miniatures, parchment, and silk.
ID: 5139 Self-Portrait ixnt 1550s
Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York