WEYDEN, Rogier van der
(b. 1400, Tournai, d. 1464, Bruxelles)
Wing of a Carved Altar1460-66
Oil on panel
When Rogier died in Brussels on 18 June 1464, he was the best known and most sought after painter in the Netherlands, an exemplar to the majority of artists north of the Alps. He left behind him not only an obviously large workshop with extremely well trained assistants, but also a continuing demand for his work. The studio was very probably taken over by his son Pieter; it will have completed commissions on which he had embarked, also accepting new orders. One of these works, possibly commissioned in Rogier's own lifetime, consisted of the wing paintings for an altar in Ambierle in France, completed in 1466. It has been proved that the carved central shrine of this altar came from Brussels. The distinguished patrons in Brussels who commissioned it obviously turned to the town painter's famous workshop, where large and impressive paintings similar in typology to Rogier's own were produced, although certainly no longer by the master himself.
The altar was donated by Michel de Chaugy, a counsellor of Philip the Good. The shrine in the retable shows carved scenes of the Passion; the donor's family, with its patron saints, occupies the wings. Stone figures of saints are depicted in niches on the exterior. In its construction, this work reflects the exterior of the Beaune Altarpiece.