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Michael Sittow: Tallinn’s Hidden Talent by Imogen Corrigan


Imogen served for nearly twenty years in the British army, retiring in the rank of Major at the end of 1994. She then went to the University of Kent to study Anglo-Saxon and Medieval history and art, graduating with 1st Class Honours. She became a freelance lecturer, running study tours for several travel companies and lecturing for the Arts Society and Noble Caledonia.

She has a wide range of lecture subjects encompassing most of Europe from the west of Ireland to Istanbul, and from North Cape to Morocco, covering 1,000 years of history. Imogen is always interested in ideas, artistic techniques and motifs travelling and especially in trying to understand the mind-set of the people who lived at that time


Michael Sittow: Tallinn's Hidden Talent

Estonia might not be famous for its Renaissance artists, but Michael Sittow of Tallinn was one of the great masters of his time. He trained in Bruges under Memling and gained one of the highest-paid contracts of the time from the court of Isabella of Castile. He travelled around Europe, including England, but ultimately returned to his native land where he died in 1525, aged 56. His portraits are so life-like that one could believe that the fur-trimmed gowns or diaphanous veils are genuine, but his real skill was in the painting of faces and hands, rendering complexions and wrinkles in such a way that you can see the subjects’ characters shining through. Happily, he was also involved in painting scenes for the Retable of Isabella, along with Juan de Flandes, so we are able to see him turning his hand to narrative art as well. Highly accomplished, we know he was a sculptor as well as an artist but, sadly, none of his carvings survive. It only takes a glance at a couple of his works to make one wonder how it can be that he is not more famous: Tallinn’s finest talent.




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