In St. Salvator’s Cathedral in the heart of historic Bruges, we find another gem from Bouts. The cathedral is the proud home of Martyrdom of Saint Hippolytus. This extraordinary triptych is a delicate depiction of a gruesome scene: the quartering of St. Hippolytus.
This work is both typical but also maverick. We recognise a particular use of perspective and an almost emotionless depiction of a chilling spectacle. These elements are a common thread that runs through his work. Yet this triptych is an outsider in Bouts’ other work, due to the collaboration involved in its creation. The centre and right panels were painted by Bouts himself, while the left panel is the work of another grandmaster: the Flemish Primitive Hugo van der Goes. Thus, in St. Salvator’s Church, you can witness the golden hands of two grandmasters in a single piece. A unique showpiece.
The lion’s share of Dirk Bouts’ legacy can be found in the most prominent art houses in Europe and the United States. But nowhere do you get to know this Flemish Primitive better than in his Leuven, in his Flanders.