Focused intensely

While I was studying art history, I was very much focused on medieval art. Specifically portraits by the Flemish painter Hans Memling.

I realized that my focus may have been a little too intense when I started seeing medieval backgrounds behind random presenters on TV.

This drawing contains a fragment of a painting called ‘Diptych of Maarten van Nieuwenhove’. ‘Diptych’ because this portrait of Van Nieuwenhove is only half of the painting (diptych = a painting on two hinged wooden panels which can be closed like a book). The left panel showed the Virgin and Child.

One of the things I love about this type of medieval art is that you can read the symbolism in the painting almost like a book (or a comic strip). But only if you learn the visual language of the 15th century a bit, of course. ‘The past is a foreign country’ or something, right.

(quote by author L.P. Hartley, apparently)

Also, can you tell that the left panel has a very different style than the right panel? Possibly because the left panel was painted by someone else. Or perhaps because a humble mortal man was not supposed to be painted in the same style as a saint.

Image source: Wikipedia