Triptych of the Virgin's Life is an oil on panel painting by the Early Netherlandish painter Dieric Bouts. It was executed circa 1445 and is in the collection of the Museo del Prado, in Madrid.
The triptych comprises four scenes from the life of the Virgin Mary emphasising her role in the Redemption. These are the Annunciation, the Visitation, the Adoration of the Angels, and the Adoration of the Magi. The sculpted portals derive from Rogier van der Weyden's Miraflores Altarpiece . There are strong affinities with Petrus Christus' Washington Nativity , so much so that the painting was once attributed to Christus. Erwin Panofsky believed the strong connection is evidence that the young Dieric Bouts attached himself to Petrus Christus early in his career.
Rogier van der Weyden or Roger de la Pasture 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 of the three great Early Flemish artists, and widely as the most influential Northern painter of the 15th century.
Robert Campin, now usually identified with the Master of Flémalle, was the first great master of Early Netherlandish painting. While the existence of a highly successful painter called Robert Campin is relatively well documented for the period, no works can be certainly identified as by him through a signature or contemporary documentation. A group of paintings, none dated, have been long attributed to him, and a further group were once attributed to an unknown "Master of Flémalle". It is now usually thought that both groupings are by Campin, but this has been a matter of some controversy for decades.
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. 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.
Petrus Christus was an Early Netherlandish painter active in Bruges from 1444, where, along with Hans Memling, he became the leading painter after the death of Jan van Eyck. He was influenced by van Eyck and Rogier van der Weyden and is noted for his innovations with linear perspective and a meticulous technique which seems derived from miniatures and manuscript illumination. Today, some 30 works are confidently attributed to him. The best known include the Portrait of a Carthusian (1446) and Portrait of a Young Girl ; both are highly innovative in the presentation of the figure against detailed, rather than flat, backgrounds.
Dieric Bouts was an Early Netherlandish painter. Bouts may have studied under Rogier van der Weyden, and his work was influenced by van der Weyden and Jan van Eyck. He worked in Leuven from 1457 until his death in 1475.
The decade of the 1440s in art involved some significant events.
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.
The Entombment is a glue-size painting on linen attributed to the Early Netherlandish painter Dieric Bouts. It shows a scene from the biblical entombment of Christ, and was probably completed between 1440 and 1455 as a wing panel for a large hinged polyptych altarpiece. The now-lost altarpiece is thought to have contained a central crucifixion scene flanked by four wing panel works half its height – two on either side – depicting scenes from the life of Christ. The smaller panels would have been paired in a format similar to Bouts's 1464–1468 Altarpiece of the Holy Sacrament. The larger work was probably commissioned for export to Italy, possibly to a Venetian patron whose identity is lost. The Entombment was first recorded in a mid-19th century Milan inventory and has been in the National Gallery, London, since its purchase on the gallery's behalf by Charles Lock Eastlake in 1861.
The Miraflores Altarpiece is a c. 1442-5 oil-on-oak wood panel altarpiece by the Early Netherlandish painter Rogier van der Weyden, in the Gemäldegalerie, Berlin since 1850. The three panels are each 71 x 43 cm and show, from left to right, a portrait of the Holy Family, a Pietà and Christ's appearance to Mary—a chronological reading of the birth, death and resurrection of Jesus, with Mary the focus of both wings. The altarpiece examines Mary's relationship with Christ at different stages of his life. It is notable for its use of colour, distinguished by its use of whites, reds and blues, and use of line—notably the line of Christ's body in the central panel—and, typically of van der Weyden, its emotional impact.
Glue-size is a painting technique in which pigment is bound (sized) to cloth with hide glue, and typically the unvarnished cloth was then fixed to the frame using the same glue. Glue-size is also known as distemper, though the term "distemper" is applied variously to different techniques. Glue-size was used because hide glue was a popular binding medium in the 15th century, particularly among artists of the Early Netherlandish period, who used it as an inexpensive alternative to oil. Although a large number of works using this medium were produced, few survive today, mainly because of the high perishability of linen cloth and the solubility of hide glue. Well-known and relatively well-preserved — though substantially damaged — the most notable examples include Quentin Matsys' Virgin and Child with Saints Barbara and Catherine and Dirk Bouts' Entombment. In German the technique is known as Tüchleinfarben, meaning “small cloth colours”, or Tüchlein, derived from the German words Tüch and Lein.
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 Master of the Prado Adoration of the Magi was a Netherlandish painter active between c. 1475 and 1500 whose identity is now lost. He is thought to have originated from the southern Netherlands and is known for his vibrant colourisation in panels depicting scenes from the infancy of Christ, he is thought to have been a pupil of Rogier van der Weyden, and is named after a copy of the "Adoration of the Magi" panel from that painter's St Columba Altarpiece. Although the Magi became a popular topic for northern painters in the second half of the 15th century and the Columba altarpiece was widely copied, the master is associated with van der Weyden's workshop because the copy is so close, it is believed he must have had access to a reproduction of the underdrawing.
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.
The Nativity is a devotional mid-1450s oil-on-wood panel painting by the Early Netherlandish painter Petrus Christus. It shows a nativity scene with grisaille archways and trompe-l'œil sculptured reliefs. Christus was influenced by the first generation of Netherlandish artists, especially Jan van Eyck and Rogier van der Weyden, and the panel is characteristic of the simplicity and naturalism of art of that period. Placing archways as a framing device is a typical van der Weyden device, and here likely borrowed from that artist's Altar of Saint John and Miraflores Altarpiece. Yet Christus adapts these painterly motifs to a uniquely mid-15th century sensibility, and the unusually large panel – perhaps painted as a central altarpiece panel for a triptych – is nuanced and visually complex. It shows his usual harmonious composition and employment of one-point-perspective, especially evident in the geometric forms of the shed's roof, and his bold use of color. It is one of Christus's most important works. Max Friedländer definitely attributed the panel to Christus in 1930, concluding that "in scope and importance, [it] is superior to all other known creations of this master."
The Master of the Legend of Saint Catherine is the Notname for an unknown late 15th century Early Netherlandish painter. He was named after a painting with Scenes from the Legend of Saint Catherine, now kept in the Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium. He was active between c. 1470 and c. 1500, probably around Brussels.
The St John Altarpiece is a c. 1455 oil-on-oak wood panel altarpiece by the Early Netherlandish painter Rogier van der Weyden, now in the Gemäldegalerie, Berlin. The triptych is linked to the artist's earlier Miraflores Altarpiece in its symbolic motifs, format and intention.
Portrait of Maria Portinari is a small c. 1470–72 painting by Hans Memling in tempera and oil on oak panel. It portrays Maria Maddalena Baroncelli, about whom very little is known. She is about 14 years old, and depicted shortly before her wedding to the Italian banker, Tommaso Portinari. Maria is dressed in the height of late fifteenth-century fashion, with a long black hennin with a transparent veil and an elaborate jewel-studded necklace. Her headdress is similar and a necklace identical to those in her depiction in Hugo van der Goes's later Portinari Altarpiece, a painting that may have been partly based on Memling's portrait.
The Marriage of the Virgin or also known as TheBetrothal of the Virgin, is a c. 1420–1430 oil on oak painting by Robert Campin. The painting was intended to be a metaphor, primarily focused on the transition from the Old to the New Testament, which is expressed through iconography and disguised symbolism. It entered into the Spanish royal collection at El Escorial in 1584. It was later obtained by Prado Museum, where it continues to reside. This work by Robert Campin is one of his earliest and was previously attributed to Roger Van der Weyden.