Robert Campin

1378/9 - 1444

Campin is usually now assumed to be identical with the Master of Flémalle. He was, with van Eyck, the founder of the realistic style of oil painting in the Netherlands in the early 15th century. His influence was further extended by his pupil Rogier van der Weyden. Campin was active at Tournai from 1406. The group of works attributable to him include three life-sized panels, formerly at Flémalle and now at Frankfurt, the National Gallery's 'Virgin and Child before a Firescreen' and 'Virgin and Child in an Interior'.

In the early 15th century the Netherlands belonged to the Duchy of Burgundy. The realistic detail of Campin's work is accompanied by a weightiness in the figures which is associated with Burgundian sculpture. It is paralleled in Italy in the work of Florentine early Renaissance artists. This quality is also evident in his portraits.