St. Luke and the Virgin
For My Museum Essay, I have chosen Rogier van der Weyden’s “St. Luke drawing the Virgin” (c. 1435-40). First of all, this painting is an extraordinarily beautiful piece of art, with both meticulous details and true to life emotional state of the figures portrayed. And it intrigued me even more when I found out that there is a very compositionally similar painting by Jan Van Eyck (“Madonna with Chancellor Rolin”).
1. “St. Luke drawing the Virgin” (c.1435-40) by Rogier van der Weyden. First thing that I noticed about this gorgeous oil and tempera on panel painting was the precise emotional aspect: romantic and simple, yet so exceptionally lifelike. This work surely shows a development from the powerfully naturalistic and expressive style of his master towards greater refinement and spirituality. This work definitely has a Gothic feel, but the sensitivity of the figures makes it quite disguised. This painting shows that Rogier’s teacher Robert Campin taught him well: implements, preparing panel with gesso (plaster mixed with binding material), mixing colors, oils, and varnishes. Besides all the technical values that Rogier van der Weyden had, there is definitely something that is beyond it: a n actual feeling. A feeling of presence, being there at the moment(/place) when(/where) the painting was taking place. It is quite hard to explain… but I’m glad that I could see this painting ‘in person’.
There is a great deal of Robert Campin’s “The Mérode Altarpiece” (c. 1425-1428, oil on oak) in this painting. Of course, mainly because Rogier van der Weyden was a student of Robert Campin. But in my opinion, there is this very similar spirituality that is laid down on both paintings, and it was something that Robert could teach Rogier, it was something they both had (and possibly what established their connection.) In “The Mérode Altarpiece” “the smallest details are meticulously worked to reflect reality on a two-dimensional plane....
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