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Rogier Van der Weyden

Roger van de Weyden (c1400-1464) is believed to be the same artist as the 'Rogelet de la Pasture' who was a pupil of Robert Campin in Tournai from 1427-32. He is considered by many to be one of the greatest Northern European fifteenth-century painters, on a par with the better-known Jan van Eyck.

His work shares a stylistic kinship with works ascribed to the so-called “Master of Flemalle”, now acknowledged by most scholars to have been Campin. This similarity is typical of the “workshop” or “school” tradition that prevailed in the 15th century.

Following the completion of his apprenticeship, around 1436, Rogier moved to Brussels and was appointed Official City Artist. He became a wealthy man with an established reputation due to the paintings commissioned from him by the Dukes of Burgundy, the Kings of Spain and the Medici, Visconti and Este princely families in Italy. None of his works are signed or documented, but many works have now been attributed to him, including the famous Deposition of Christ in the Prado in Madrid. His largest paintings, four huge panels for Brussels Town Hall, were destroyed in the bombardment of 1695.

Rogier uses rhythmic lines and rich colours to evoke a deep emotions in his paintings, and he influenced an entire generation of European painters.

In 1450 he visited Italy and probably painted his Madonna with Four Saints in Florence for the Medici family, as the picture bears the coat-of-arms of Florence, and the four saints represented are St Cosmas and St Damian (the family’s patron saints) and St John the Baptist and St Peter (after whom Cosimo (the Elder) de' Medici's two sons were named). In compositional terms, it is very similar to the Florentine sacra conversazione.

Rogier then returned to Brussels, where he died in 1464.

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