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Roger van der Weyden

Weyden, Roger van der (vän dər vĪˈdən) [key], c.1400–1464, major early Flemish master, known also as Roger de la Pasture. He is believed to have studied with Robert Campin. His early works also show the influence of Jan van Eyck. Van Eyck, however, had been a master at objective rendering of detail, whereas Roger in his work portrayed emotions with an assurance that has not been surpassed. His ability to depict piety is reflected in the early masterpiece Descent from the Cross (c.1435; Prado); he depicted with significant restraint the profound grief of the mourners grouped around the tragic figure of Jesus. His composition strongly affected later representations of the theme. Roger became City Painter in Brussels in 1436. He then produced a series of undated altarpieces including the Last Judgment (hospital, Beaune), the Braque Triptych (Louvre), Crucifixion with Donors (Vienna), and Adoration of the Magi (Berlin), which vary in execution from a stress on sumptuous details to a more sculptural rendering of the figures. Roger is believed to have made a pilgrimage to Italy in the holy year 1450. Whether this supposed excursion had any effect on his style is much debated. It has been shown that his Entombment (Uffizi) bears an affinity to the Tuscan treatment of the subject, particularly by Fra Angelico, and that Roger's Virgin and Child with Saints (Frankfurt) has a strong resemblance to the Italian religious art of the day. His style is, however, highly individual. His religious paintings and his portraits are characterized by a straightforward monumentality. The portraits, such as that of a young lady (National Gall. of Art, Washington, D.C.) and of Francesco d'Este (Metropolitan Mus.) exhibit a simple clarity of contour and psychological penetration. Other notable works are his St. Luke Painting the Virgin, of which a version or replica is in the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, the Crucifixion (Philadelphia Mus.), and paintings in the museums of Chicago, Houston, and San Marino, Calif. Roger's influence was great, and his tradition was carried on by such painters as Dierick Bouts and Hans Memling.

See E. Panofsky, Early Netherlandish Painting (1953); M. Davies, Roger van der Weyden (1972).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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See more Encyclopedia articles on: European Art to 1599: Biographies

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