Saint Luke Drawing the Virgin - oil on canvas - circa 1440
Rogier van der Weyden or Roger de la Pasture (1399-1464) was an Early Netherlandish painter whose surviving works consist mainly of religious triptychs, altarpieces and commissioned single and diptych portraits. All painters during this time would have relied heavily on commissions to paint religious images and scenes, with the most skilled and respected painting grand altarpieces.
He was highly successful and internationally famous in his lifetime. His paintings were exported to Italy and Spain, and he received commissions from, amongst others, Philip the Good, Netherlandish nobility and foreign princes.
By the latter half of the 15th century, he had eclipsed Jan van Eyck in popularity. However, his fame lasted only until the 17th century, and largely due to changing taste, he was almost totally forgotten by the mid-18th century. His reputation was slowly rebuilt during the following 200 years; today he is known, with Robert Campin and van Eyck, as one of the three great Early Flemish artists and widely as the most influential Northern painter of the 15th century.
It is said of Rogier van der Weyden that his great artistic contribution lies in his ideas, his composition and rendering of the soul's expression through pain, happiness or anger, and the tempering of this emotional testimony on the subject matter of his work. Van der Weyden's style is most often characterized as one that paid special attention to human emotion.
Van der Weyden worked from live models, and his observations were acute, yet he often idealised certain elements of his models' facial features, and they are typically statuesque, especially in his triptychs. All of his forms are rendered with rich, warm coloration and a sympathetic expression, while he is known for his expressive pathos and naturalism.