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Paintings from the Netherlands were exported all over Europe in the 15th century. Painters trained in the Netherlandish use of oil paint were much in demand for their ability to represent dazzling effects of light, penetrating portraits, and lyrical landscapes.

In Spain Bermejo’s mastery of the oil painting technique was second to none, but the origin of his training is unknown. Juan de Flandes, a Netherlandish artist, was painter to Queen Isabella of Spain, who also commissioned work from Michel Sittow, a native of Tallinn in Estonia working in the Netherlandish tradition. In Italy Duke Federico of Urbino commissioned Justus of Ghent to decorate his study with learned allegories, two of which are shown here.

Leading painters in France were either natives of the Netherlands or trained there: Jean Hey travelled south to work for the Duke and Duchess of Bourbon in central France, while the Master of Saint Giles was probably based in Paris.