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(1399/1400 - 1464)
Rogier van der Weyden
van der Weyden was the most important representative of Netherlandish painting
in the years immediately following Jan
and Hubert van Eyck. Like no other painter of the 15th century outside
Italy, he developed compositional and figural principles, which were adopted
into every genre of painting north of the Alps. We should not underestimate
the extent of his influence in Italy, where he was considered one of the
most important artists of his day.
Rogier was born in Tournai around 1399/1400, son of the cutler Henry
de le Pasture and Agnes de Wattrelos. In 1426, he married Elisabeth Goffaerts
(c. 1405-1477). In 1427, Rogier’s first son, Corneille (d. 1473), who later
studied in Louvain, and became a Carthusian monk in Hérinnes in
1449/49, was born.
Rogier was apprenticed to Campin
in 1427 – a surprisingly late date. But having only become a master in
1432, in 1436 he was appointed official painter to the city of Brussels.
Rogier came to Brussels in 1435, changing his name from the French ‘de
le Pasture’ to its Flemish equivalent, which is ‘van der Weyden’.
Rogier took as his starting point the three-dimensional figures of Campin
and Jan van Eyck and proceeded to clarify their anatomical structure. At
the same time, he perfected the depiction of interiors and landscapes in
proper perspective. Direct references to earlier masters – as, for example,
in his several surviving versions of St. Luke
painting the Virgin, which refer to Jan van Eyck’s The
Virgin of the Chancellor Rolin – became far less frequent from
about 1440 as he strove to find an artistic balance between depth and plane.
Figures grew more slender, draperies and interior décor became more
elegant. A visit to Rome in the year of 1449/50 led to an exchange between
art north and south of the Alps, which would prove one of the most fruitful
of the entire 15th century.
When Rogier died in Brussels on June 18, 1464, he was the best known and
most sought after painter in the Netherlands, a standard for the majority
of artists north of the Alps. He left behind him not only an obviously
large workshop with extremely well trained assistants, but also a continuing
demand for his work. The studio was very probably taken over by his son
Pieter (1437-after 1514), also a painter.
Rogies van der Weyden. Lukas Painting Madonna. by N. Nikulin.
Painting of Europe. XIII-XX centuries. Encyclopedic Dictionary.
Moscow. Iskusstvo. 1999.
Der Weyden by Lorne Campbell. Chaucer Press, 2005.
van der Weyden. St. Luke Drawing the Virgin. Selected Essays in Context.
by C. Purtle. Brepols Publishers, 1998.
van der Weyden: Rogier de le Pasture by Albert Châtelet.
Netherlandish Painting from Rogier van der Weyden to Gerard David.
by Otto Pacht, Monika Rosenauer. Harvey Miller, 1997.