Olga's Gallery

Melchior Broederlam Biography

Toward the year 1400, the merging of Northern and Italian traditions gave rise to a single dominant style, the International Gothic style, throughout western Europe. Painters played the main role in its development. Among the most important was Melchior Broederlam (flourished c. 1387-1409), a Flemish artist, who worked in the court of the Duke of Burgundy in Dijon. According to the records, he lived in Ypres, West Flanders. Nothing is known about his upbringing and training.

As in the case of so many artists, iconoclasm and wars in the Franco-Flemish border region destroyed all his work. Only two side panels for the altar in the Carthusian monastery at Dijon are preserved. From the written records we know that he was highly esteemed by Duke Philip the Bold of Burgundy, whom he served as court painter and valet de chambre. He participated in the decoration of Hesdin château, one of the richest and most finely furnished of the day. As court artist he also painted portraits and designed costumes. It is recorded that he accompanied the altar to Dijon and visited Paris.

His two surviving panels in Dijon, show that he was a painter, who masterly handled the light effects of light by gradation of color.

  • Melchior Broederlam. Annunciation and Visitation.
    Annunciation And Visitation.

    1394-99. Left-hand panel of an altar triptych in the Carthusian monastery at Dijon. Tempera on oil. 167 x 125 cm. Musée des Beaux-Arts, Dijon, France. Read Note.