Portrait of Niccolò Spinelli by Hans Memling

Portrait of a Man

IT WAS the nature of Memling to be moved by only what was good. The splendor of the Flemish Bruges, the opulence of its nobles and great merchants, the famed beauty of its women, the richness of its temporal life, the healthful, deep, unquestioning fervor of its people's worship--all these to him were Bruges. Memling believed it all and loved it. And as a realist who lived in Paradise, he painted it.

To Bruges came many of the leading craftsmen of Europe. Among them was a skilled metal cutter, Niccolò Spinelli, or Niccolò il Fiorentino as he was known in his lifetime. And Memling painted him. None of us looking at a reproduction of this great portrait would suspect that the original panel was but twelve inches high.

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