Catholic Encyclopedia (1913)/Wilhelm of Herle

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Painter, born at Herle in Dutch Limburg at an unknown date in the fourteenth century; time and place of death unknown. According to the statements of deeds of that period he was active at Cologne from 1358 for some fifteen or twenty years. In 1370 he was paid for paintings that he had made for the liber juramentorum of the city. Also remains of frescoes from the town hall that are now preserved in the Walraf-Richartz Museum can certainly be traced to him. It is generally supposed that a painter, Wilhelm of Cologne, mentioned in the "Limburger Chronicle" as "the best painter in German lands" is Wilhelm of Herle, and it has been customary to attribute to him some of the best work in painting of early Cologne, although there is no absolute proof in any one case. His pupil and assistant was Wynrich of Wesel, and Firmenich-Richartz, in particular, has ascribed to Wynrich pictures attributed to Wilhelm, although Aldenhoven and others have protested against this ascription. It is difficult to distinguish the work of Wilhelm from that of the school he founded. The most important paintings about which there is question are the "Madonna with the Bean-Blossom" and its variant the "Madonna with the Pea-Blossom" and the accompanying pictures on the wing-panels of St. Catherine and St. Elizabeth (Cologne and Nuremberg). Other paintings are the "Christ on the Cross" surrounded by a large number of saints (Cologne), and "St. Veronica" (Munich). Among the works of this school is also included the altar of St. Clare in the cathedral of Cologne, in which the Sacrifice of the Mass in the centre is surrounded by twelve scenes from the youth and Passion of Christ.

G. GIETMANN