Rogier van der Weyden (1400-1464)
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Rogier van der Weyden is considered one of the finest of the 15th century Netherlandish painters, second only to Jan van Eyck. His style was more like that of the Italian painters of his time, in that he developed figural and compositional elements not found among other Northern painters. It may even be said that van der Weyden surpassed his Italian contemporaries, for he was considered one of the most important artists of his day in Italy.
The son of a cutler, Van der Weyden was born in Tournai and was apprenticed to Campin in 1427. He went to Brussels in 1435, and it was at that time that he changed his name from the French “de la Pasture” to the Flemish translation “van der Weyden.” Van der Weyden began his earliest paintings using the same techniques as Campin and van Eyck and clarified their use of three-dimensional figures and anatomical structures. Van der Weyden also paid closer attention to details and interiors as well as landscapes and perspective.
After the 1440s, van der Weyden’s work began to surpass that of his master’s as he achieved a balance in depth and plane. His draperies and interiors became more elegant, and his figures were now depicted as more slender and graceful. Van der Weyden visited Rome from 1449 to 1450, which proved to be a pinnacle moment in 15th century art, as it was a meeting of the minds for Northern and Southern artists.
When van der Weyden died in 1464, he left behind a massive oeuvre and workshop with a team of well-crafted and extremely trained assistants. It is thought that his workshop was taken over by his son, Pieter, who was also a painter, and he and his assistants kept up the standard for his work long after his death. Despite the fact that he was gone, van der Weyden’s work was still in high demand, and at the time of his death, he was considered to be the best-known and most sought-after painter in the Netherlands.
Today, van der Weyden’s work is housed all over Europe in public and private collections, and perhaps in your own home. Still wondering about a 15th century Flemish painting in your family estate? Contact us…we are the Rogier van der Wedyen experts.