Paysage avec rencontre sur le chemin d’Emmaüs

In 2010, the Tilmon Fund purchased Paysage avec rencontre sur le chemin d’Emmaüs (Landscape and Meeting on the Road to Emmaus), a 16th century painting attributed to Henri Blès (end of the 15th century – 1567?). Put up for sale by Sotheby’s the painting was formerly part of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art collection. Its purchase enabled the painting to be repatriated to Belgium and become part of the collection of the Musée Provincial des Arts Anciens du Namurois.

Blès’s paintings generally represent religious themes. However, following on from Joachim Patenier, Blès inverted the traditional relationship between the figures and landscape in the painting, so that the religious subject here appears to be of secondary importance. One particularity of this painting is its relatively small size, indicating that Blès was responding to demand from a less well-off public and that he was taking account of the wishes of a rather wide range of clients.

The painting is particularly interesting from a technique point of view. Henri Blès restructures, develops and reduces existing compositions in order to create new ones. This Paysage avec rencontre sur le chemin d’Emmaüs is more in the tradition of Patenier and Cordeille Metsys. The presence of certain motifs that we see in the paintings of his mature period enables us to classify this painting among his later works.

In this painting, he once more includes the castle, for which he restructures the various parts, and the usual ash tree. Contrary to other versions, however, here Blès has opted for a less elaborate iconography: here there is no massive rock on which sits a castle, nor an enormous tree that dominates the left corner, but simply a castle.

Providing support for the museums of Namur is one of the Pierre- François Tilmon Fund’s two objectives. Already, on several occasions, the Fund has facilitated the acquisition of pieces that have enriched the collections of the Walloon capital and financed the restoration of various works, including Richardot’s ceramics at the Hôtel de Croix. In function of its resources, and to fulfil the wishes of its founder, the late Ghislaine Tilmon, the Fund also wishes to contribute to the development of the Musée des Arts Anciens, notably by extending the space accessible to the general public. The Tilmon Fund also supports socio-economic projects in the Mons-Borinage region.

Website Musée Provincial des Arts Anciens du Namurois

Further information about the Pierre François Tilmon Fund (in French)

Type: 
Painting
Material / technique: 
Oil on panel
Dimensions: 
24.1 x 33 cms
Type of acquisition: 
Pierre-François Tilmon Fund acquisition
Year of acquisition: 
2010
Depository institution: 
Musée Provincial des Arts Anciens du Namurois, Namur