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Must See Exhibition – The heritage of Rogier van der Weyden. Painting in Brussels 1450-1520.

October 12, 2013
Visitors look at "Triptych with the miracles of Christ" by early Flemish painter Rogier van der Weyden at the opening of the exhibition entitled "The heritage of Rogier van der Weyden" presenting his works at the Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium in Brussels on October 10, 2013. AFP PHOTO/BELGA/BENOIT DOPPAGNE

Visitors look at “Triptych with the miracles of Christ” by early Flemish painter Rogier van der Weyden at the opening of the exhibition entitled “The heritage of Rogier van der Weyden” presenting his works at the Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium in Brussels on October 10, 2013. AFP PHOTO/BELGA/BENOIT DOPPAGNE.

Here’s an exhibition that should be high on everyone’s list – The Heritage of Rogier van der Weyden now on view at the Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium in Brussels through January 26, 2014.

The exhibition, according to the press release, is, “devoted to painting in Brussels in the period between the death of Rogier van der Weyden (1464) and the activity of Bernard van Orley (1515- 1541). The Web site devoted to the exhibition states:

When Van der Weyden died in 1464, he left a large studio in Brussels that must have employed several artists. None has been identified except for his son Pieter, to whom no work can be attributed. The presence of Hugo van der Goes at the priory of Rood Klooster from around 1475 until his death in 1482 also played an important role.

A visitor looks at "Pieta" at the opening of the exhibition entitled "The heritage of Rogier van der Weyden" presenting the works of early Flemish painter Rogier van der Weyden at the Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium in Brussels on October 10, 2013. AFP PHOTO/BELGA/BENOIT DOPPAGNE.

A visitor looks at “Pieta” at the opening of the exhibition entitled “The heritage of Rogier van der Weyden” presenting the works of early Flemish painter Rogier van der Weyden at the Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium in Brussels on October 10, 2013. AFP PHOTO/BELGA/BENOIT DOPPAGNE.

Many painters are mentioned in Brussels archives but, with the exception of Aert van den Bossche and Jacop Sourdiaus, no painting can be attributed to them. The great majority of the works conserved are anonymous. It is partly for this reason that, excluding the attention of specialists, little interest has been shown in them.

Nevertheless, through their individual contributions and their desire to pursue an esteemed tradition while also searching for new paths, the painters of Brussels at the end of the fifteenth century proposed original solutions in terms both of spatial organization and expressive and narrative development. In their fulfilment of the many commissions from the court, prelates, nobility, rich foreign merchants, clergy and patriciate who followed in the wake of the Dukes of Burgundy, the artists helped to spread the painting of Brussels far beyond the boundaries of the city, and opened the way to the renewal of the 1520s represented by the person of Bernard van Orley.

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“The exhibition presents the results of a four-year research programme financed by the Politique Scientifique Fédérale under the presidency of Philippe Mettens. It is accompanied by a richly illustrated scientific book that presents the results of the research and contributions by a number of specialists.”

“The catalogue is only available in French and Dutch” – let’s hope there’s ultimately an English language version, too.

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