Rogier van der Weyden (Dutch: [roːˈɣiːr vɑn dər ˈʋɛi̯də(n)] ) or Roger de la Pasture (1399 or 1400 –18 June 1464) was an Early Netherlandish painter whose surviving works consist mainly of religious triptychs, altarpieces, and commissioned single and diptych portraits. He was highly successful in his lifetime; his paintings were exported to Italy and Spain, and he received commissions from, amongst others, Philip the Good, Netherlandish nobility, and foreign princes. By the latter half of the 15th century, he had eclipsed Jan van Eyck in popularity. However his fame lasted only until the 17th century, and largely due to changing taste, he was almost totally forgotten by the mid-18th century. His reputation was slowly rebuilt during the following 200 years; today he is known, with Robert Campin and van Eyck, as the third (by birth date) of the three great Early Flemish artists (Vlaamse Primitieven or "Flemish Primitives"), and widely as the most influential Northern painter of the 15th century.
Very few details of van der Weyden's life are known.The few facts we know come from fragmentary civic records. Yet the attribution of paintings now associated to him is widely accepted, partly on the basis of circumstantial evidence, but primarily on the stylistic evidence of a number of paintings by an innovative master.
Van der Weyden worked from life models, and his observations were closely observed. Yet he often idealised certain elements of his models' facial features, who were typically statuesque, especially in his triptychs. All of his forms are rendered with rich, warm colourisation and a sympathetic expression, while he is known for his expressive pathos and naturalism. His portraits tend to be half length and half profile, and he is as sympathetic here as in his religious triptychs. Van der Weyden used an unusually broad range of colours and varied tones; in his finest work the same tone is not repeated in any other area of the canvas, so even the whites are varied.
Due to the loss of archives in 1695 and again in 1940, there are few certain facts of van der Weyden's life.Rogelet de le Pasture (Roger of the Pasture) was born in Tournai (in present-day Belgium) in 1399 or 1400. His parents were Henri de le Pasture and Agnes de Watrélos. The Pasture family had earlier settled in the city of Tournai where Rogier's father worked as a maître-coutelier (knife manufacturer).
In 1426, Rogier married Elisabeth, the daughter of a Brussels shoemaker, Jan Goffaert, and his wife Cathelyne van Stockem. Rogier and Elisabeth had four children: Cornelius (b. 1427) became a Carthusian monk; a daughter, Margaretha, was born in 1432. Before 21 October 1435, the family settled in Brussels where the two younger children were born: Pieter in 1437 and Jan in 1438, who would go on to become a painter and a goldsmith respectively.
From the second of March 1436 onward, he held the title of 'painter to the town of Brussels' (stadsschilder), a very prestigious post because Brussels was at that time the most important residence of the splendid court of the Dukes of Burgundy. On his move to Brussels, Rogier began using the Flemish version of his name: "Rogier van der Weyden".
Little is known about Rogier's training as a painter. The archival sources from Tournai were completely destroyed during World War II, but had been partly transcribed in the 19th and early 20th century. The sources on his early life are confusing and have led to different interpretations by scholars. It is known that the city council of Tournai offered eight pitchers of wine in honour of a certain 'Maistre Rogier de le Pasture' on 17 November 1426.
However, on 5 March of the following year, the records of the painters' guild show a "Rogelet de le Pasture" entered the workshop of Robert Campin together with Jacques Daret. Records show that de le Pasture was already established as a painter.Only five years later, on the first of August 1432, de le Pasture obtained the title of a "Master" (Maistre) painter.
His later entry into apprenticeship might be explained by the fact that during the 1420s the city of Tournai was in crisis and as a result the guilds were not functioning normally. The late apprenticeship may have been a legal formality. Also Jacques Daret was then in his twenties and had been living and working in Campin's household for at least a decade. It is possible that Rogier obtained an academic title (Master) before he became a painter and that he was awarded the wine of honour on the occasion of his graduation. The sophisticated and learned iconographical and compositional qualities of the paintings attributed to him are sometimes used as an argument in favour of this supposition.
The social and intellectual status of Rogier in his later life surpassed that of a mere craftsman at that time. In general, the close stylistic link between the documented works of Jacques Daret and the paintings attributed to Robert Campin and van der Weyden are the main arguments to consider Rogier van der Weyden as a pupil of Campin.
The final mention of Rogier de la Pasture in the financial records of Tournai, on 21 October 1435, lists him as demeurrant à Brouxielles ("living in Brussels"). At the same time, the first mention of Rogier de Weyden places him as the official painter of Brussels. It is this fact that puts de la Pasture and van der Weyden as one and the same painter. The post of city painter was created especially for Van der Weyden and was meant to lapse on his death. It was linked to a huge commission to paint four justice scenes for the "Golden Chamber" of Brussels City Hall.
Different properties and investments are documented and witness his material prosperity. The portraits he painted of the Burgundian Dukes, their relatives and courtiers, demonstrate a close relationship with the elite of the Netherlands. Whilst Rogier van der Weyden became increasingly wealthy, he also gave generously in alms to the poor. II donated it to the monastery of Miraflores in 1445.Further testimony of his philanthropy is van der Weyden's position as administrator of the hospital and charitable foundation Ter Kisten of the Beguine convent in Brussels between 1455 and 1457. The Miraflores Altarpiece was probably commissioned by King Juan II of Castile, since Juan
According to some sources, in 1449 Rogier went to Italy, XI, Rogier van der Weyden was persuaded to accept the request of Bianca Maria Visconti, Duchess of Milan, that her court painter Zanetto Bugatto go to Brussels to become an apprentice in his workshop.and in the holy year 1450 quite possibly made a pilgrimage to Rome, which brought him in contact with Italian artists and patrons. However, his Italian experiences had no influence on his style. The House of Este and the Medici family commissioned paintings from him. After interventions from both the Duke of Burgundy and the Dauphin of France, the future Louis
Rogier's international reputation increased progressively. In the 1450s and 1460s humanist scholars such as Nicolas Cusanus, Filarete and Bartolomeo Facio referred to him in superlatives: 'the greatest', 'the most noble' of painters.
Van der Weyden died on 18 June 1464 at Brussels, and was buried in St. Catherine's Chapel of the Cathedral of St. Michael and St. Gudula.
No single work can be attributed with certainty to van der Weyden on 15th-century documentary evidence alone. However, Lorne Campbell has stated that three well-authenticated paintings are known, but each has been doubted or underestimated.The best documented is The Descent from the Cross in the Museo del Prado, Madrid. Campbell points out that this painting's provenance can be traced in some detail from the 16th century. Originally hung in the church Notre-Dame-hors-des-Murs in Leuven, TheDescent from the Cross was sent to the King of Spain. While the ship on which it was travelling sank, the painting fortunately floated, and careful packaging meant that it was scarcely damaged. A copy of the masterpiece by Michel Coxcie was donated to the people of Leuven to replace the original sent to Spain. The Triptych of the Virgin or Miraflores Altarpiece , since 1850 in the Gemäldegalerie, Berlin, was given in 1445 to the Charterhouse of Miraflores near Burgos by John II of Castile; it was described in the deed of gift as the work of great and famous Flandresco Rogel. The Crucifixion, now in the Escorial Palace, was donated by Rogier to the Charterhouse of Scheut outside Brussels. In his catalogue raisonné of van der Weyden, the Belgian art historian Dirk de Vos agrees with Campbell about the authenticity of these three paintings.
Rogier's apprenticeship under Campin instilled a number of preoccupations, most noticeably his approach to feminine beauty, which was often expressed both through the elegant form of the model herself as well as her dress. Both painters positioned their models within strong diagonal lines, rendered either through headdress or folds of surrounding draperies or cloth. Both emphasised the vivacity of their model's character by contrasting them against dark flat backgrounds and throwing strong light from the near left hand side. Campbell compares Campin's Thief with Rogier's Prado The Descent from the Cross in their emotional depictions of anguish. The resemblance was to such an extent – compare Campin's Portrait of a Woman's similarity to Rogier's Berlin portrait – that Campin's works were for a period attributed to Rogier's early career.
Châtelet illustrates how subsequent generations of art historians have conflated and confused Rogier van der Weyden's identity, thereby mis-attributing works of art. It can be traced back to a geographical error in Vasari's Vite de' più eccellenti pittori, scultori e architettori where he states that the artist 'Rugiero da Brugia' lived in Bruges. Van Mander, who knew that Rogier van der Weyden resided in Brussels, read Vasari's text and believed that there were two different artists with the same name,who both appear separately in his Schilder-boeck of 1604. Châtelet explains how the Brussels archivist Alphonse Walters discovered in 1846 that there was a Rogier van der Weyden who lived in Brussels but that he had died earlier than stated in the Schilder-Boeck; this led Alfred Michiels to claim that there were two Rogier van der Weyden painters, a father and son. A further complication arose at the end of the 19th century when William Bode and Hugo von Tschudi attributed a group of works of art to the "Maître de Flémalle"; despite discrepancies, these works are similar to those of Van der Weyden and so it was believed that these works were in fact by Rogier and that he was the "Maître de Flémalle". It was only in 1913 that Hulin de Loo indicated that these works were actually painted by Rogier's teacher Robert Campin. There was still a divide in critical opinion over whether there was one Rogier van der Weyden or two artists, the other being Rogier de la Pasture of Tournai, until Erwin Panofsky wrote his definitive work in 1953 Early Netherlandish Painting and established that there was only one painter with two names.
Relatively few works are attributed to van der Weyden's relatively long career, but this does not mean he was un-prolific, more that it is likely that many have been lost. Nonetheless, he had a very well defined style, and the majority of the attributions are generally accepted. Van der Weyden left no self-portraits. However it has been suggested that he painted a self-portrait into one of the Justice panels, which was subsequently copied into the Bern tapestry. A drawing with the inscription "Recueil d'Arras" is also said to depict Van der Weyden.
Many of his most important works were destroyed during the late 17th century. He is first mentioned in historical records in 1427 when, relatively late in life, he studied painting under Campin during 1427–32, and soon outshone his master and, later, even influenced him.After his apprenticeship, he was made master of the Tournai Guild of St Luke. He moved to Brussels in 1435, where he quickly established his reputation for his technical skill and emotional use of line and colour. He completed his Deposition in 1435, which as he had deliberately intended, made him one of the most sought after and influential artists in northern Europe and is still considered his masterpiece.
The fragment of the London National Gallery's The Magdalen Reading has been described by Campbell as "one of the great masterpieces of fifteenth-century art and among Rogier's most important early works".Since the 1970s, this painting has been linked to two small heads in the collection of the Calouste Gulbenkian Museum (Lisbon), of Saint Catherine and of St Joseph. It is now widely believed that these three fragments came from the same large altarpiece depicting the "Virgin and Child with Saints", partly recorded in a later drawing now in Stockholm. At some unknown date before 1811, this altarpiece was carved up into these three fragments.
The lost The Justice of Trajan and Herkinbald , which survived until the end of the 17th century, consisted of four large panels representing the Justice of Trajan and Justice of Herkenbald. These were commissioned by the City of Brussels for the Gulden Camere (Golden Chamber) of the Brussels Town Hall. The first and third panels were signed, and the first dated 1439. All four were finished before 1450. They were destroyed in the French Bombardment of Brussels in 1695, but are known from many surviving descriptions, from a free partial copy in tapestry (Bern, Historisches Museum) and from other free and partial copies in drawing and painting. The paintings probably measured about 4.5 m each, which was an enormous scale for a painting on panel at that time. They served as 'examples of justice' for the aldermen of the city who had to speak justice in this room. The paintings were praised or described by a series of commentators until their destruction, including Dürer (1520), Vasari (1568), Molanus (c. 1570–1580), and Baldinucci (1688).
In his commissioned portraits, van der Weyden typically flattered his sitters. He often idealised or softened their facial features, allowing them a handsomeness or beauty, or interest or intelligence they might not have been blessed with in life. He often enlargened the eyes, better defined the contours of the face, and gave a much stronger jaw than the subject may have possessed in life.Among his most celebrated portraits are those of Philip the Good, his third wife Isabella of Portugal and their son Charles the Bold.
His vigorous, subtle, expressive painting and popular religious conceptions had considerable influence on European painting, not only in France and Germanybut also in Italy and in Spain. Panofsky writes how Rogier van der Weyden introduced new religious iconography in his painting; he depicted patrons participating in sacred events and combined half-portraits of the Madonna with portraits of people in prayer to form diptychs. He also reformulated and popularised the subject of Saint Jerome removing the thorn from the lion's paw.
Hans Memling was his greatest follower, although it is not proven that he studied under Rogier. Van der Weyden had also a large influence on the German painter and engraver Martin Schongauer whose prints were distributed all over Europe from the last decades of the 15th century. Indirectly Schongauer's prints helped to disseminate van der Weyden's style. Delenda writes that, with the exception of Petrus Christus, who was a disciple of Jan van Eyck, traces of Rogier van der Weyden's art can be found in all fifteenth-century artists to varying degrees.
|van der Weyden's Crucifixion Triptych, Smarthistory|
Robert Campin, now usually identified with the Master of Flémalle, was the first great master of Flemish and Early Netherlandish painting. Campin's identity and the attribution of the paintings in both the "Campin" and "Master of Flémalle" groupings have been a matter of controversy for decades. Campin was highly successful during his lifetime, and thus his activities are relatively well documented, but he did not sign or date his works, and none can be confidently connected with him.
Early Netherlandish painting, traditionally known as the Flemish Primitives, refers to the work of artists active in the Burgundian and Habsburg Netherlands during the 15th- and 16th-century Northern Renaissance period. It flourished especially in the cities of Bruges, Ghent, Mechelen, Leuven, Tournai and Brussels, all in present-day Belgium. The period begins approximately with Robert Campin and Jan van Eyck in the 1420s and lasts at least until the death of Gerard David in 1523, although many scholars extend it to the start of the Dutch Revolt in 1566 or 1568. Early Netherlandish painting coincides with the Early and High Italian Renaissance but the early period is seen as an independent artistic evolution, separate from the Renaissance humanism that characterised developments in Italy, although beginning in the 1490s as increasing numbers of Netherlandish and other Northern painters traveled to Italy, Renaissance ideals and painting styles were incorporated into northern painting. As a result, Early Netherlandish painters are often categorised as belonging to both the Northern Renaissance and the Late or International Gothic.
Jef Van der Veken was a Belgian art restorer, copyist and art forger, who had mastered the art of reproducing the works of the Early Netherlandish painters.
The Mérode Altarpiece is an oil on oak panel triptych, now in The Cloisters, in New York City. It is unsigned and undated, but attributed to Early Netherlandish painter Robert Campin and an assistant. The three panels represent, from left to right, the donors kneeling in prayer in a garden, the moment of the Annunciation to Mary, which is set in a contemporary, domestic setting, and Saint Joseph, a carpenter with the tools of his trade. The many elements of religious symbolism include the lily and fountain, and the Holy Spirit represented by the rays of light coming through from the left hand window.
Jacques Daret was an Early Netherlandish painter born in Tournai, where he would spend much of his life. Daret spent 15 years as a pupil in the studio of Robert Campin, alongside Rogier or Rogelet de le Pasture, and afterwards became a master in his own right. He became a favorite of the Burgundian court, and his patron for 20 years was the abbot of St. Vaast in Arras, Jean de Clercq.
Portrait of a Young Girl is a small oil-on-oak panel painting by the Early Netherlandish painter Petrus Christus. It was completed towards the end of his life, between 1465 and 1470, and is held in the Gemäldegalerie, Berlin. It marks a major stylistic advance in contemporary portraiture; the girl is set in an airy, three-dimensional, realistic setting, and stares out at the viewer with a complicated expression that is reserved, yet intelligent and alert.
The Descent from the Cross is a panel painting by the Flemish artist Rogier van der Weyden created c. 1435, now in the Museo del Prado, Madrid. The crucified Christ is lowered from the cross, his lifeless body held by Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus.
Portrait of a Lady is a small oil-on-oak panel painting executed around 1460 by the Netherlandish painter Rogier van der Weyden. The composition is built from the geometric shapes that form the lines of the woman's veil, neckline, face, and arms, and by the fall of the light that illuminates her face and headdress. The vivid contrasts of darkness and light enhance the almost unnatural beauty and Gothic elegance of the model.
The Diptych of Philip de Croÿ with The Virgin and Child consists of a pair of small oil-on-oak panels painted c. 1460 by the Netherlandish artist Rogier van der Weyden. While the authorship and dating of both works are not in doubt, it is believed but not proven that they were created as wings of a devotional diptych and that at some unknown time the panels were broken apart. A diptych panel fitting the description of the Mary wing was described in a 1629 inventory of paintings owned by Alexandre d'Arenberg, a descendant of Philip I de Croÿ (1435–1511). Both have been approximately dated to 1460 and are now in Antwerp and San Marino, CA respectively. The reverse of de Croÿ's portrait is inscribed with the family crest and the title used by the sitter from 1454 to 1461.
Portrait of a Young Woman is a painting completed between 1435–1440 by the Netherlandish artist Rogier van der Weyden. The sitter in this small work wears a wide, white hennin over a brown dress, which features a black-lined, v-shaped neckline. As is usual of van der Weyden's female portraits, her hands are clasped tightly in prayer, while her expression is generally humble. Unusually for a van der Weyden', she does not bow her head or gaze into the middle distance. Instead she looks directly at the viewer, creating an intimate relationship between sitter, viewer and artist, which art historian and research curator Lorne Campbell describes as "appealing and vibrant".
The Magdalen Reading is one of three surviving fragments of a large mid-15th-century oil-on-panel altarpiece by the Early Netherlandish painter Rogier van der Weyden. The panel, originally oak, was completed some time between 1435 and 1438 and has been in the National Gallery, London since 1860. It shows a woman with the pale skin, high cheek bones and oval eyelids typical of the idealised portraits of noble women of the period. She is identifiable as the Magdalen from the jar of ointment placed in the foreground, which is her traditional attribute in Christian art. She is presented as completely absorbed in her reading, a model of the contemplative life, repentant and absolved of past sins. In Catholic tradition the Magdalen was conflated with both Mary of Bethany who anointed the feet of Jesus with oil and the unnamed "sinner" of Luke 7:36–50. Iconography of the Magdalen commonly shows her with a book, in a moment of reflection, in tears, or with eyes averted.
Saint Luke Drawing the Virgin is a large oil and tempera on oak panel painting, usually dated between 1435 and 1440, attributed to the Early Netherlandish painter Rogier van der Weyden. Housed in the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, it shows Luke the Evangelist, patron saint of artists, sketching the Virgin Mary as she nurses the Child Jesus. The figures are positioned in a bourgeois interior which leads out towards a courtyard, river, town and landscape. The enclosed garden, illusionistic carvings of Adam and Eve on the arms of Mary's throne, and attributes of St Luke are amongst the painting's many iconographic symbols.
Virgin and Child with Saints, is a large mid-15th century oil-on-oak altarpiece by the early Netherlandish painter Rogier van der Weyden. The work is lost since at least the 17th century, known only through three surviving fragments and drawing of the full work in Stockholm's Nationalmuseum by a follower of van der Weyden. The drawing is sometimes attributed to the Master of the Drapery Studies.
Ian Lorne Campbell is a Scottish art historian and curator. Campbell was Beaumont Senior Research Curator at the National Gallery, London from 1996 to 2012, and from 1974 to 1996 lectured on the Northern Renaissance at the Courtauld Institute of Art, University of London. He has curated major exhibitions at the National Gallery and other museums, including ones on Rogier van der Weyden at Leuven in 2009 and the Prado in 2015.
Durán Madonna is an oil on oak panel painting completed sometime between 1435 and 1438 by the Netherlandish painter Rogier van der Weyden. The painting derives from Jan van Eyck's Ince Hall Madonna and was much imitated subsequently. Now in the Prado, Madrid, it depicts a seated and serene Virgin Mary dressed in a long, flowing red robe lined with gold-coloured thread. She cradles the child Jesus who sits on her lap, playfully leafing backwards through a holy book or manuscript on which both figures' gazes rest. But unlike van Eyck's earlier treatment, van der Weyden not only positions his Virgin and Child in a Gothic apse or niche as he had his two earlier madonnas, but also places them on a projecting plinth, thus further emphasising their sculptural impression.
The Justice of Trajan and Herkinbald was a set of four large panels painted by the Flemish painter Rogier van der Weyden that decorated one wall of a court-room in the Town Hall of Brussels. They represented the Justice of Trajan, a Roman emperor, and the Justice of Herkinbald, a legendary Duke of Brabant. The panels were intended as a reminder to judges to dispense impartial justice and were admired by generations of visitors, including Albrecht Dürer. They were destroyed when the city was bombarded by the French in 1695 and are now known only from descriptions and from a tapestry copy in the Historical Museum of Bern.
The Virgin and Child Enthroned is a small oil-on-oak panel painting dated c. 1433, usually attributed to the Early Netherlandish artist Rogier van der Weyden. It is closely related to his Madonna Standing, completed during the same period. The panel is filled with Christian iconography, including representations of prophets, the Annunciation, Christ's infancy and resurrection, and Mary's Coronation. It is generally accepted as the earliest extant work by van der Weyden, one of three works attributed to him of the Virgin and Child enclosed in a niche on an exterior wall of a Gothic church. The panel is housed in the Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza in Madrid.
The Virgin and Child is a painting by the Flemish artist Rogier van der Weyden dating from after 1454 in the collection of the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston.
Jean Wauquelin presenting his 'Chroniques de Hainaut' to Philip the Good is a presentation miniature believed to have been painted by the Flemish artist Rogier van der Weyden. It decorates the frontispiece to the Chroniques de Hainaut, MS KBR.9242, Jean Wauquelin's French translation of a three-volume history of the County of Hainaut originally written in Latin by the 14th-century Franciscan historian Jacques de Guyse.
A Man and A Woman is the title sometimes used for a pair of oil and egg tempera on oak panel paintings attributed to the Early Netherlandish painter Robert Campin, completed c. 1435. Although usually considered pendants or companion pieces, they may also have been wings of a since dismantled diptych. The latter theory is supported by the fact that the reverse of both panels are marbled, indicating that they were not intended to be hung against a wall.