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  • numbers of ferramenta
    Type: inscription
    Location: left design in composition
    Materials: pen and ink
  • numbering
    Type: traces
    Location: other designs
    Materials:
  • James Bowdoin III( Collector, Boston) - 1811.
  • Bowdoin College Museum of Art( Museum, Brunswick, Maine) 1811- . Bequest
  • Old Master Drawings at Bowdoin College
    • Bowdoin College Museum of Art. ( 5/17/1985 - 7/7/1985)
    • Clark Art Institute. ( 9/14/1985 - 10/27/1985)
    • University of Kansas. ( 1/19/1986 - 3/2/1986)
    • Art Gallery of Ontario. ( 5/17/1986 - 6/29/1986)
  • Drawings from Maine Collections
    • Colby College Museum of Art. ( 5/14/1978 - 7/16/1978)
  • Northern Renaissance Stained Glass
    • College of the Holy Cross. ( 2/2/1987 - 3/8/1987)
  • Old Master Drawings: from College and University Collections
  • Drawing on Basics
    • Bowdoin College Museum of Art. ( 10/14/1993 - 12/19/1993)
  • Late Gothic Art in England 1400-1547
    • Victoria and Albert Museum. ( 10/9/2003 - 1/18/2004)
  • Old Master Drawings from the Bowdoin College Museum of Art
    • Timken Museum of Art. ( 5/13/2005 - 8/14/2005)

Type: catalogue
Author: Henry Johnson
Document Title: Catalogue of the Bowdoin College Art Collections
Publ. Place: Brunswick, Maine
Reference: no. 122
Remarks: (as Unknown)
Publisher: Bowdoin College
Section Title: Pt. I, The Bowdoin Drawings
Date: 1885

Type: catalogue
Author: Bowdoin College Museum of Art
Document Title: Bowdoin Museum of Fine Arts, Walker Art Building
Edition: 4th
Publ. Place: Brunswick, Maine
Reference: no. 122
Remarks: (as Unknown)
Publisher: Bowdoin College
Section Title: Descriptive Catalogue of the . . .
Date: 1930

Author: K. G. Boon
Document Title: Master Drawings, Vol. 2, no. 2
Location: pp. 153-56
Reference: pl. 20
Section Title: Two Designs for Windows by Dierick Vellert
Date: 1964

Author: Hilary G. Wayment
Document Title: Corpus Vitrearum Medii Aevi--Great Britain
Publ. Place: London
Location: pp. 20, 96, 101
Reference: pl. 8, fig. 2
Section Title: Supp. vol. I, The Windows of King's College Chapel Cambridge
Date: 1972

Author: M. J. Friedländer
Document Title: Early Netherlandish Painting
Publ. Place: Leyden and Brussels
Location: p. 135
Reference: no. 169
Section Title: Vol. 12, Jan van Scorel and Pieter Coeck van Aelst
Date: 1975

Author: Hilary G. Wayment
Document Title: King's College Chapel Cambridge
Publ. Place: Cambridge, England
Location: p. 11, a detail repr. p. 4
Section Title: The Great Windows:  Introduction and Guide
Date: 1982

Author: Hilary G. Wayment
Document Title: Master Drawings, vol. 22, no. I
Location: pp. 43-46
Reference: repr. pl. 34
Section Title: Three "Vidimuses" for the Windows in King's College Chapel, Cambridge
Date: 1984

Type: exhibition catalogue
Author: David P. Becker
Document Title: Old Master Drawings at Bowdoin College
Publ. Place: Brunswick, Maine
Location: pp. 4-6
Reference: no. 2
Publisher: Bowdoin College
Date: 1985

Author: Virginia Chieffo Raguin
Document Title: Northern Renaissance Stained Glass
Publ. Place: Worcester, Massachusetts
Location: pp. 26-27, 79-80
Reference: illus. p. 79
Publisher: College of the Holy Cross
Date: 1987
			
		

This drawing is the only known surviving design for the stained glass of King's College Chapel, Cambridge, England. The twenty-five "great" windows of the chapel were glazed between 1515 and ca. 1547 and constitute a significant monument of northern Renaissance stained glass. Painters and glaziers from England, Germany, and the Netherlands took part in the commission. Dierick Vellert, perhaps the most renowned glass designer and painter in Antwerp of the 1520s and 1530s, contributed a major portion of the designs for King's College. He may even have traveled to England himself to work on the glass.1

Vellert came to Antwerp in the first decade of the century, joining the Guild of St. Luke there in 1511. His early artistic training is obscure. In addition to producing many designs for glass, Vellert was an inspired printmaker and maintained a studio of assistants. Albrecht Dürer paid him several visits during Dürer's stay in Antwerp in 1520/21. Vellert was still alive in 1547.

Formerly attributed to Barent van Orley, the Bowdoin drawing was first given to Vellert by Boon, who further recognized it as a design for the King's College windows (Judson had brought the drawing to his attention). Wayment then discussed it in detail in his 1972 monograph devoted to the windows. At that time, he accepted the attribution of the sheet to Vellert and convincingly demonstrated that it was an original working design for the windows and not copied after them. Upon a recent examination of the drawing itself, however, Wayment has modified his views somewhat, while still maintaining its important position within the design process.2 The Bowdoin drawing is a "vidimus" — an exact study on a smaller scale for the glaziers to follow while preparing full-scale cartoons for the manufacture of the windows. According to Wayment, a vidimus must "correspond exactly ... to the proportions of the opening, . . . and must repeat exactly the pattern of the ferramenta, the horizontal and vertical iron bars to which the completed panels are to be attached on the outside."3 The original design would have been kept by the patron or his agent as part of the contract, thus necessitating an accurate duplicate working model — the vidimus — which could be done by the master-glazier (i.e., Vellert), but need not be.4

Wayment feels that the Bowdoin designs were indeed executed in the Vellert workshop, and he has attributed different sections of the sheet to different hands. That the designs are prior to the windows is proven primarily by 1) the major change of position of the lame man's left leg, which in the window is extended downward, and 2) the precise correspondence of the grids of the drawing and the actual windows and the numbering of the ferramenta in the drawing (the latter feature necessary for a vidimus but not for a copy).

In an analysis of the draughtsmanship, Wayment feels that Vellert himself was not responsible for the majority of the drawing, which was first laid down in washes and then reinforced with pen and ink contours. He attributes the left design of Christ appearing to the Apostles to the so-called Lazarus Master, who painted the scene of the Raising of Lazarus in Window 8.2.5 He does attribute to Vellert much of the center drawing, particularly the figures of Peter and John. The right-hand design remains an anonymous product of the workshop.

The Bowdoin study is composed of designs for three scenes in two of the great windows on the south side of the chapel.6 Each of the six sections in the drawing was then enlarged to a "light" measuring approximately seventeen and a half feet high and two and a half feet wide. The individual scenes portrayed from left to right in the drawing are Christ's appearance to the Apostles (John 20:12—23), Peter and John healing the Lame Man (Acts 3:1—10), and the Death of Ananias (Acts 5:1—6). The total iconographic program of the chapel windows derives principally from the Life of the Virgin, including the Life, Passion, and Resurrection of Christ, with prefigurations of each event from the Old Testament, and in addition three windows showing various acts of the Apostles. Much of the imagery ultimately derives from fifteenth-century blockbooks, particularly the Speculum Humanae Salvationis and the Biblia Pauperum.7

Wayment has discussed in detail specific features revealed in the Bowdoin designs, relating to original placement of the windows, smaller changes in decoration between design and glass, and visual sources for Vellert's representations. The pose of Peter in the right design, for instance, derives from Raphael's tapestry cartoon of the same subject, which was reproduced in a woodcut by Ugo da Carpi in 1518.8 Wayment dates the windows related to the Bowdoin designs ca. 1538, during Vellert's later period of work on the King's College commission.

1. Wayment 1972, pp. 20-22.

2. Visit to the BCMA, 1982; I am most grateful to Dr. Wayment for sharing his observations with me.

3. Wayment 1972, p. 30.

4. Letter from H. G. Wayment to author, 8 July 1982.

5. The Lazarus window is repr. in Wayment 1972, pl. 79.

6. Repr. in Boon 1964, pp. 153-55, figs. 1-3 and in Wayment 1972, pls. 129, 135, and 137.

7. Wayment 1972, pp. 5-8.

8. Ibid., p. 102.

Commentary credited to David P. Becker (or not otherwise captioned) appeared in his catalogue Old Master Drawings at Bowdoin College (Brunswick: Bowdoin College Museum of Art, 1985).