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Rogier Van der Weyden

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Painter, b. at Tournai, 1399 or 1400; d. at Brussels, 1464. His original name was De la Pasture, which was transformed in Flemish into Van der Weyden. His family, settled in Tournai since 1260, were people of means. He is believed to have commenced his artistic life as a goldsmith, and his figures show that he understood some kind of sculpture. He was apprenticed to Robert Campin in 1427, became a master painter, was admitted into the Guild of St. Luke in 1432, and three years later was painter in ordinary to the municipality of Brussels. He only had the appointment, however, for a year, when the office of town painter was abolished. He was said to have been a pupil of van Eyck, e.g. by Vasari and other writers, but the researches of Weale in Flemish documents proved this incorrect, and showed that Campin was Rogier's master. His work is far more religious than that of van Eyck, and the figures in his pictures much more dramatic, animated, and at times almost tragic. He was full of employment and obtained high prices. He lived at Brussels, and had four children, Cornelius, who became a Carthusian, Peter, who was a painter, John, who was a goldsmith, and one daughter, Margaret. He was a generous benefactor, especially to Carthusian houses. One of his important altar-pieces, now in Berlin, was painted for the Cartuja of Miraflores in Spain, another, now in the Escorial, for the Carthusian house at Scheut, a third, at Antwerp, for the Bishop of Tournai, who desired to give it to a Carthusian house, and a fourth for the Carthusian monastery of Herinnes, where Cornelius resided. The "Joys and Sorrows of our Lady of Pity", now at Berlin, the "Seven Sacraments ", at Antwerp, the "Adoration of the Magi", at Berlin, and the marvellous triptych in the Prado, are his greatest works. There are also paintings by him at Frankfort and Munich, and others attributed to him elsewhere.

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