Circle of Dirk Vellert (ca. 1480 – 1547)
The Prodigal Son cavorting with harlots, ca. 1520
green-tinted clear cylinder glass with vitreous paint and several hues of silver stain
⌀ 9 7/8 inches
⌀ 25 cm
Details such as the female attendants’ opulent dagged robes, the banqueting room’s carefully organised perspectival recession, and the refined foreshortening of the table top and its contents, reveal a meticulous level of planning using what must have been highly finished preparatory drawings executed by the hand of an absolute master. The way in which the figures are arranged indicate that it was designed specifically for a circular format.
Playing with puns
Glass-painting in Antwerp
Dirk Jacobsz. Vellert (c. 1480-1547) was one of the foremost glass-painters active in Antwerp around the first half of the 16th century. He is known for a group of surviving drawings, a handful of large-scale windows, and two signed roundels depicting Triumphs – one in the Musées Royaux d’Art et d’Histoire in Brussels and the other in the Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam (fig. 3). Vellert and his workshop can be credited with spreading a very precise and veristic style of glass painting that was undoubtedly taken up and copied with rapidity by other workshops active in the same city.
Our roundel stylistically relates to Vellert’s known works but it remains unclear whether its author belonged to Vellert’s workshop or one of these associated ateliers. The only other known version of the same composition is preserved in a broken state the Institute Néerlandais (Collection Frits Lugt) in Paris. ❖