You Are A Fifteenth-Century Flemish Painting. What Is Your Name?

You are a big grand triptych, richly oiled, new beautiful in Ghent. Big shadows, careful hand, full of foreground, smeared with blending, the best smell in church, and a big fabric on your head, velvet heavy, perspective caught and cracked open, plane shattered, wet on wet on oak. You are gilt gilt gilt, emblem added, finger-blotted, over a big guild, merchants looking at you, new merchants emerging. It is the fifteenth century and the merchants are emerging. The merchants are emerging out of the fifteenth century. They are a new class. The new class of the fifteenth century is here, and they’re merchants, and they want art. The merchants are kicking their way out of the fourteenth century and linking elbows until they turn into leagues and market towns. The merchants are wrapping dense fabrics around their foreheads and thinking about acting on behalf of a principal. The merchants are spilling out of lines of credit and offering a courier service and they want tall paintings of their wives Barbara, with the long neck, symbolism in. The merchants’ hats are lined with fur and swollen with religious allegory, and you are covering it with your art mouth, your loom-whirring body, your multi-paneled hands. Your lines are precise, your strokes brushed through with Dutch-rich winter power, you are replacing land with money, you are technology already, you are big sad smart and Italy is too far away to kick-start you. What is your name?

Your Birth Month

January The Three

February Pastoral

March Adoration of

April Portrait of

May The Judgment of

June Sleeping

July Shepherd With a

August The Test of

September Death of

October The Temptation of

November The Bath of

December Madonna of

Birth Day of the Week

Sunday Ages of Man

Monday Solomon

Tuesday Self-Portrait

Wednesday Leda’s Children

Thursday Woman Inspired by Lucretia

Friday Study in Carnation

Saturday Receiving the Stigmata

Accompanied By [choose one]…

With a Woodcock

Truth, Folly, Allegory, Minerva, and Time

A Knight, Sleeping

An Egg

The Holy Family, passant

Bathsheba (allegorically)

The Seven Tears of Merciful Theseus

A Sparrowhawk

Mary of a Bigness


Pursued by The Deluge

Saint John the Baptist as a Boy (small)

Jethro’s Daughters Holding a Mirror

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