Rogier van der Weyden
He was one of the greatest and most influential northern painters of his day. Since 1435th the artist lived in Brussels, where he had a large studio and worked for the city council.
Van der Weyden brought traditional Christian presence closer to everyday life. The meticulous detail of cloths, clothes, fingernails, and hair; faces drawn from life; anecdotal detail creates an illusion of reality. But the stiff poses, cramped spaces, and static expressions are wholly unreal. It is the tension that draws the eye so magnetically into the drama and the serious aspiration of the religious message itself an interplay of the real and unreal.
Note the portraits by van der Weyden’s brush with many beautifully painted details, including especially the fingernails, knuckles, red-rimmed eyes, and stitches on clothing. Notice how the artist uses gestures and facial expressions and poses that are appropriate to the emotion expressed, showing tear-streaked faces and an understanding of grief; observe how one figure echoes the poses and gestures of another, as if in emotional sympathy. He adopted a softer, more relaxed style after 1450, Italian influence after a visit to Rome.
Rogier van der Weyden’s major works are St. Luke Drawing the Virgin, 15th century (St. Petersburg: Hermitage Museum); Descent from the Cross, c. 1435 (Madrid: Museo del Prado); Triptych: The Crucifixion, c. 1440 (Vienna: Kunsthistorisches Museum); Francesco d’Este, c. 1455 (New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art); Portrait of a Lady, c. 1455 (Washington, DC: National Gallery of Art).
- Robert Cumming. Art: complete encyclopedia. – 512 p. – Moscow: Astrel, 2005.