UNKNOWN MASTER, Flemish
(active 1470s in Brussels)
Oil on oak panel, 129 x 95 cm
The anonymous artist who executed this panel is referred to as the Master of the Legend of St Catherine. The panel is the center of a triptych showing the donor on the left wing and the Resurrection on the right wing. The painter has obviously thought hard about the technical aspects of taking Jesus down from the Cross, and (very unconventionally) has two men on ladders removing the body. All the figures derive from Rogier; the mourning woman on the right, for instance, is a version of a figure in the center of the Seven Sacraments Altarpiece (Antwerp).
Rogier van der Weyden's last assistants probably included one of the leading painters of the later 15th century, Hans Memling. Memling was only one of many Netherlandish painters who took their guidelines mainly from Rogier in the last third of the 15th century, and were very ready to adopt his motifs. He was, however, the most artistically important of them, and handled Rogier's legacy more confidently than the rest. In Bruges and particularly in Brussels, where Rogier had lived and worked, other less outstanding artists followed his great example, often producing very outmoded paintings. The artist known as the Master of the Legend of St. Catherine, for instance, cites the Brussels town painter freely in his works, but with his rather clumsy compositions, and faces that are sometimes almost in the nature of caricature, he lags far behind Rogier. Since this anonymous master had an extraordinarily wide knowledge of Rogier's ideas, it has been suggested that he was Rogier's son, Pieter van der Weyden, but there is no further evidence for the identification.