Rogier van der Weyden
Tournai 1399/1400 - Brussels 1464
oil on panel
49 x 30 cm
Inventory number 254
The Early Netherlandish painter Rogier van der Weyden was one of the most prominent artists of the 15th century. He, alongside his contemporary Jan van Eyck, was the first to portray his models truthfully, as real people with real emotions. The man in this painting is Philippe de Croÿ (1435 – 1511), a nobleman in the entourage of Philip the Good, the Duke of Burgundy. De Croÿ was Philip's representative in Hainaut. He was also the second Count of Chimay, a Knight of the Order of the Golden Fleece, and Lord of Quiévrain. His statuesque pose and the soft hues against the dark background draw the viewer's attention to the model's hands and face. De Croÿ is holding a rosary with a crucifix pendant. A fine gold and ruby ring adorns the little finger of his left hand and he is also wearing several gold necklaces. In the bottom of the picture, one can just make out the handle of a sword or a dagger. The panel was most likely the right wing of a diptych. The left is believed to have represented the Virgin and Child, to whom De Croÿ is praying.
A reconstructed oeuvre
Rogier van der Weyden never signed his paintings, which complicates the matter of reconstructing his oeuvre. In fact, there are many works which, to this day, cannot be attributed with certainty to the Master. The authenticity of this portrait in the museum collection is however uncontested.