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Rogier van der Weyden

(Follower of) Tournai 1399 - Brussels 1464

Rogier van der Weyden, or Rogier de la Pasture, is considered one of the most important Flemish primitive painters alongside Jan van Eyck. Born in Tournai in 1399, he is listed here as an apprentice to Robert Campin in 1427. He became a master five years later. In 1435, he was appointed official painter of the city of Brussels, where he had settled. Around 1450, he travelled to Italy, which, far from influencing him, confirmed his style of painting.

The long-held hypothesis, according to which Rogier van der Weyden and the Master of Flémalle were one and the same painter, now seems unlikely owing to their very dissimilar styles. While his refined and precious early works confirm the influence of van Eyck, this was far from intentional. He prefers to consider man himself rather than evoking his relationships with the universe. Thanks to his synthetic approach to shapes and colours, resulting in considerable simplification and a studied concentration, his paintings are imbued with an emotional intensity rarely achieved in painting. Rogier van der Weyden produced a significant number of half-length paintings of the Virgin nursing the Christ Child, often depicted in the form of diptychs with the face of the donor, usually based on the large painting of St. Luke painting the Virgin. His Madonnas, painted after 1450, with their face and gaze turned towards the donor, continued to adhere to van der Weyden's ideas and pictorial language up until the beginning of the 16th century, when the art of that era began to evolve. He had considerable influence, stretching from Brussels to the entire Southern Netherlands, through his interpretation of the themes dear to Colin de Coter, Petrus Christus, Thierry Bouts and Hans Memling, and the north of the country.