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Rogier van der Weyden

about 1399 - 1464

Rogier van der Weyden was one of the most profound and influential painters of the 15th century. He was internationally famed for the naturalism of his detail and his expressive pathos. He created a range of types - for portraits and for religious subjects - which were repeated throughout the Netherlands, the Iberian peninsula, and even Italy, until the mid-16th century.

Rogier van der Weyden was apprenticed to Robert Campin in Tournai from March 1427 to August 1432. He soon equalled his master and was later to influence Campin's work. In 1435 he was made painter to the city of Brussels. In 1450 he may have travelled to Rome. He worked for Philip the Good, Duke of Burgundy, and for foreign princes, as well as for the city and church.

Among his greatest works is a powerful 'Descent from the Cross' (Madrid, Prado), which helps us to imagine the impact of the whole altarpiece of which 'The Magdalen Reading' is a fragment. The Gallery has several of his smaller religious works. The uneven quality of these raises the issue of workshop collaboration.