The Master of the Female Half-lengths
- The Master of the Female Half-Lengths
- A lady writing at a desk
- oil on panel
- 38.5 by 25.1 cm.; 15 1/8 by 9 7/8 in.
This is one of the most accomplished designs painted by the Master, the charm and technical skill of which evidently met with widespread contemporary approval, for at least seventeen variants have survived. Virtually all of them show a fashionably attired lady turned to the right, writing at a table, with a window behind her to the left. Within this scheme the pictures differ widely in the details of the composition. The presence of the gilt cup and cover in the majority of versions led Friedländer and others to suggest that the young ladies represented the Magdalene.
1. For the fullest discussion of the sources of his artistic personality see M. J. Friedländer, Early Netherlandish Painting, vol. XII, Leiden and Brussels 1975, pp. 18–21, and 134.
2. See, E. Konowitz, ‘The Master of the female Half Lengths Group, Eclecticism and Novelty’, in Oud Holland, vol. 113, 1999, Nr. 1/2, pp. 1–12, reproduced fig. 2.
3. O. Benesch, ‘The name of the Master of the Half-Lengths’, in Gazette des Beaux-Arts, LXXXV, 1943, pp. 269–82.