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Rogier van der Weyden

Born: c. 1400
Birthplace: Tournai, France
Died: 18-Jun-1464
Location of death: Brussels, Belgium
Cause of death: unspecified

Gender: Male
Race or Ethnicity: White
Sexual orientation: Straight
Occupation: Painter

Nationality: Belgium
Executive summary: Flemish Renaissance painter

Flemish painter, born in Tournai, and there apprenticed in 1427 to Robert Campin. He became a guild master in 1432 and in 1435 removed to Brussels, where he was shortly after appointed town painter. His four historical works in the Hôtel de Ville have perished, but three tapestries in the Bern museum are traditionally based on their designs. In 1449 Rogier went to Italy, visiting Rome, Ferrara (where he painted two pictures for Lionel d'Este), Milan and probably Florence. On returning (1450) he executed for Pierre Bladelin the "Magi" triptych, now in the Berlin Gallery, and (1435) an altarpiece for the abbot of Cambrai, which has been identified with a triptych in the Prado Gallery representing the "Crucifixion", "Expulsion from Paradise" and "Last Judgment." Van der Weyden's style, which was in no way modified by his Italian journey, is somewhat dry and severe as compared with the painting of the Van Eycks, whose pupil Vasari erroneously supposed him to be; his color is less rich than theirs, his brushwork more labored, and he entirely lacks their sense of atmosphere. On the other hand, he cared more for dramatic expression, particularly of a tragic kind, and his pictures have a deeply religious intention. Comparatively few works are attributed with certainty to this painter; chief among such are two altarpieces at Berlin, besides that mentioned above, "The Joys and Sorrows of Mary", and "Life of St. John the Baptist", a "Deposition" and "Crucifixion" in the Escorial, the Prado triptych, another ("Annunciation", "Adoration" and "Presentation") at Munich; a "Madonna" and a "St. John the Baptist" at Frankfurt. The "Seven Sacraments" altarpiece at Antwerp is almost certainly his, likewise the "Deposition" in the Uffizi, the triptych of the Beaune hospital, and the "Seven Sorrows" at Brussels. Two pictures of St. Luke painting the Virgin, at Brussels and St. Petersburg respectively, are attributed to him. None of these is signed or dated. Van der Weyden attracted many foreigners, notably Martin Schongauer, to his studio, and he became one of the main influences in the northern art of the 15th century. He died at Brussels in 1464. His descendant, Rogeier van der Weyden the Younger, is known to have entered the Antwerp guild in 1528, but no work of his has yet been satisfactorily authenticated.

Wife: Elizabeth Goffaert (m. 1426)
Son: Peter

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