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Simon Bening - Dutch Artist From Art History

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Historical Artist - Simon Bening (1483 - 1561)

Simon Bening was known as one of the greatest illuminators in all of Europe. Taught in his father, Alexander Bening’s workshop in Ghent, he then moved to Bruges in 1500. There he served as the dean of the calligraphers, booksellers, illuminators, and binders’ Guild of Saint John and Saint Luke. He produced books for important clients such as Cardinal Albrecht of Brandenburg, Emperor Charles V, and Don Fernando, the Infante of Portugal. He created books of hours, genealogical tables and portable altarpieces. He later painted nocturnal scenes and landscapes.

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.

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