Madonna and Child, Rogier van der Weyden (1399-1464)
Oil on panel, Dutch School, 15th century. Dutch artist Rogier van der Weyden was one of the most profound and influential painters of the 15th century. He was internationally famed for the naturalism of his detail and his expressive pathos. He created a range of types, for portraits and for religious subjects, which were repeated throughout the Netherlands, the Iberian peninsula, and even Italy, until the mid 16th century. He was apprenticed to Robert Campin in Tournai from March 1427 to August 1432 but he soon equalled his master and was later to influence Campin's own work. In 1435 he was made painter to the city of Brussels. In 1450 he may have travelled to Rome. He worked for Philip the Good, Duke of Burgundy, and for foreign princes, as well as for the city and church. Rogier van der Weyden was highly successful and internationally famous in his lifetime. 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 and today he is known, with Campin and van Eyck, as the third (by birth date) of the three great Early Flemish artists, and widely as the most influential Northern painter of the 15th century. The Madonna and Child was a traditional subject for Renaissance artists, commissioned both by the Church and by private individuals. The use of oil paint on wooden panel, rather than egg tempera which was the dominant medium in Italy during this period, is a particularly Northern European development which gradually spread south to Italy through the 15th century.