The incursion of the Valencian Lluís Dalmau in the Hispanic artistic panorama of the mid-fifteenth century meant an irrigation of new lifeblood to the generation of painters clinging to the conventions of international Gothic painting: a renewal marked by the deep knowledge of Flemish art that he learned directly from Jan van Eyck and that he applied -when barely three or four years had passed since the death of the Flemish master- in his most famous work, the «Retablo de la Verge dels Consellers» (Altarpiece of the Virgin of the Consellers).
Lluís Dalmau – Diffuser of Flemish Gothic painting
This makes Dalmau an absolutely exceptional painter in the early diffusion of Flemish art in the Mediterranean basin. Of Valencian origin, Lluís Dalmau is mentioned for the first time in 1428, when Alfonso the Magnanimous (1396-1458) ordered the painter from Valencia to travel to Castile. Three years later and also by royal order, the painter left for Flanders, where he must have remained until 1436, since on July 7 of that year he appears again working in the city of the Turia, again with royal commissions.
In July of 1438, the Valencian merchant Manuel Dalmau expresses, in his request of citizenship of Barcelona, the next transfer of his brother Lluís to the condal city, that we have to suppose that it is about the Lluís Dalmau painter.
In this regard, it has been suggested that although the painter’s name is not documented in Barcelona until 1443, he could have lived in the city since 1438, which makes it more understandable that he was the one chosen by the «consellers» of Barcelona to execute such an important commission.
The years following the execution of the «Retablo de la Verge dels Consellers» (1443-1445) are marked -although not totally detached from the royal house- by the painter’s relationship with clients in Barcelona and various surrounding towns.
On April 4, 1461, a sentence was passed on a dispute in which Dalmau had been involved regarding the supply of flags and banners to the king’s ship. The fact that the painter was not present at the reading of the resolution, and the absence of news after this year, have been interpreted as the probable date of his death.