Workshop of Dirk Vellert (c. 1480-1547)

The Prodigal Son cavorting with harlots
c. 1520
Southern Low Countries, Antwerp
clear glass with vitreous paint and silver stain
25 cm diameter

In the first half of the sixteenth century, Antwerp was the most important trading centre anywhere in the Low Countries, and Dirck Vellert was the leading light of its community of stained-glass painters and designers. His workshop and its wider circle of artists rose to prominence with the production of painted glass roundels based on that famous Biblical parable of the spendthrift wastrel, the Prodigal Son. This popular tale offered a sharp and scathing commentary on the perils of fast living and loose morals, its protagonist haplessly falling prey to the skin-deep charms of cardsharps and harlots. This week’s focus is on one such roundel, showing the infamous tavern scene in which the Prodigal Son is being dazzled by women who are about to rob him blind…

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Sam Fogg
Art of the Middle Ages