After a long and complex restoration process undertaken in their studios, the Museo del Prado
temporarily presents in hall 56 B one of the seminal works of art from the Renaissance: La Purificación de María(The Purification of Mary), made by Flemish artist Peeter de Kempeneer in 1556. Conceived as a central part of the Mariscal Diego Caballero altarpiece for the Seville Cathedral, this work is monumental, a perfect example of the influence of Durer and Raphael on the work made by the author.
Peeter de Kempeneer (Brussels, 1503-1587) had arrived in Seville in 1537, formed as a painter had spent some time in Italy. He spent twenty years in the Spanish city doing commissioned work, one of which and the most influential, was the cathedral.
The Purification presents a complex composition which is based on part of a print made by Durer, especially because of the conception of the monumental space, in which he introduces an elegant and winding courtship of figures close to the work by Michelangelo and Raphael. Precisely due to its monumental size, the work was made from wooden panels set up horizontally, an unusual setup that has permanently caused problems when restoring.
Peeter de Kempeneer's early life appears to have been passed in Italy, where he carefully studied the paintings of Raphael, and declared himself as his pupil. In 1530 he was at work at some scene-painting, representing a triumphal arch to be erected on the occasion of the coronation of Charles V, and he then left for Spain, on the advice, it is said, of Cardinal Grimani, and passed the rest of his life in that country, only returning to Brussels about 1563 or 1565. Between 1537 and 1562 he was associated with Luis de Vargas and the Italian sculptor Torregiano in establishing a school of painting in Seville, which eventually became the academy of the place; amongst the pupils educated in it was the celebrated Morales. He painted for the monastery of St. Mary of Grace, Church of Santa Cruz, in the city, an altar-piece representing the "Descent from the Cross", which is now in the cathedral, having been removed there when the church fell into ruins. This is dated 1548, and is regarded as his masterpiece.
There is also another work by the same painter in the Seville cathedral, the "Resurrection"; and the various churches of the city, S. Isidoro, S. Pedro, S. Catalina, and S. Juan, all possess paintings by this artist. One of his last works was the restoration and repainting of a chapel belonging to Hernando de Jaén, an important resident in Seville. Murillo requested that he buried near Campaña's picture, and his burial took place in the Church of Santa Cruz, close underneath the "Descent from the Cross", but the whole building was burned to the ground during the French war, and the tomb perished.