Rogier Van Der Weyden, St. Columba Alter Piece (Center Panel), 1455 Oil Paint on Wood
The composition of the painting by Van Der Weyden consists of a woman cradling a baby with the focus of many different spectators on the infant. The crowd of spectators is mostly men and three farm animals, a bull, a mule, and a dog. The women and infant are sitting inside a reddish, stone, partially enclosed shelter; that is slightly deviated to the left of the center of the painting. There is a man in elaborate clothing kneeling before the infant and another is bowing while offering a chalice. There are four men in the foreground while the rest of the figures are crowded by an entrance to the shelter in the middle right section. The figures are slender and graceful. The painting has linear perspective and in the horizon there are hills and buildings. The size of the figures in the painting diminishes as they reach the background, also depicting perspective. The vanishing point of the painting appears to be just above the middle of the pictures, where a crucifix is shown. The painting is symmetrical. There are about seven people on the right side of the painting while on the left side there is only two men, one kneeling and one standing. The left side of the painting is balanced by the amount of buildings in the horizon.
The color palette of the painting is diverse, while red and warm earth tones dominate the painting. The light source seems to be in front of the left section of the picture while dispersing towards the right. The use of light gives the illusions of volume. The gradation of the sky is very exaggerated. The top is a dark blue and as it reaches the middle the sky is very light. The painting has a smooth finish and is very detailed. The flowers on the bottom are very intricate as well as the patterns of the people’s garments. Each face has a distinguished and unique appearance; no two faces are alike.
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