Philip the Good

Philip the Good (French: Philippe le Bon; Dutch: Filips de Goede; 31 July 1396 – 15 June 1467) was Duke of Burgundy as Philip III from 1419 until his death. He was a member of a cadet line of the Valois dynasty, to which all the 15th-century kings of France belonged. During his reign, Burgundy reached the apex of its prosperity and prestige and became a leading center of the arts. Philip is known in history for his administrative reforms, his patronage of Flemish artists such as Jan van Eyck and Franco-Flemish composers such as Gilles Binchois, and the capture of Joan of Arc. In political affairs, he alternated between alliances with the English and the French in an attempt to improve his dynasty's position. As ruler of Flanders, Brabant, Limburg, Artois, Hainaut, Holland, Zeeland, Friesland and Namur, he played an important role in the history of the Low Countries.

Philip the Good
Philip the good
Philip the Good, wearing the collar of firesteels of the Order of the Golden Fleece he instituted, copy of a Rogier van der Weyden of c.1450
Duke of Burgundy
Reign10 September 1419 – 15 June 1467
PredecessorJohn the Fearless
SuccessorCharles the Bold
Born31 July 1396
Dijon, Duchy of Burgundy
Died15 June 1467 (aged 70)
Bruges, Flanders, Burgundian Netherlands
SpouseMichelle of Valois
Bonne of Artois
Isabella of Portugal
IssueCharles the Bold
David of Burgundy
Anthony, bastard of Burgundy
Anne of Burgundy
FatherJohn the Fearless
MotherMargaret of Bavaria
ReligionRoman Catholicism
Emanuel van Meteren Historie ppn 051504510 MG 8645 Philippus Bonus
Engraving of Philip the Good
Charles the Bold 1460
Portrait of Philip the Good's son and heir Charles the Bold, by Rogier van der Weyden.

Family and early life

Coat of Arms of the Duke of Burgundy since 1430
Coat of arms of Philip the Good (after 1430)

Born in 1396 in Dijon, Philip was the son of John the Fearless and Margaret of Bavaria.[1] His father succeeded Philip's grandfather Philip the Bold as Duke of Burgundy in 1404.[2] On 28 January 1405, Philip was named Count of Charolais in appanage of the duke and probably became engaged on the same day, at the age of 8, to Michelle of Valois, a daughter of King Charles VI of France and Isabeau of Bavaria. They were married in June 1409.[3]

After Michelle's death in 1422, Philip married Bonne of Artois,[3] a daughter of Philip of Artois, Count of Eu, and also the widow of his uncle, Philip II, Count of Nevers, in Moulins-les-Engelbert on 30 November 1424. Bonne of Artois is sometimes confused with Philip's biological aunt, also named Bonne (a sister of John the Fearless who lived from 1379 to 1399), in part due to the papal dispensation required for the marriage, which made no distinction between a marital aunt and a biological aunt. Bonne of Artois lived only a year after Philip married her.

Philip was married for a third time to Isabella of Portugal, a daughter of John I of Portugal and Philippa of Lancaster, in Bruges on 7 January 1430,[4] after a proxy marriage the year before. This marriage produced three sons:[5]

  • Anthony (September 30, 1430, Brussels – February 5, 1432, Brussels), Count of Charolais;
  • Josse (April 24, 1432 – aft. May 6, 1432), Count of Charolais;
  • Charles (10 November 1433 – 5 January 1477), Count of Charolais and Philip's successor as Duke of Burgundy, known as "Charles the Bold" or "Charles the Rash"[4]

Philip also had at least eighteen illegitimate children by various of his 24 documented mistresses, of whom these are the best known:

Corneille and Anthony were his favorite bastard sons and successively bore the title Grand bâtard de Bourgogne (first Corneille and after his death, Anthony).

Rogier van der Weyden - Portrait of a Lady - Google Art Project

Portrait of a Lady, sometimes identified as Marie de Valengin, bastard daughter of Philip III, Duke of Burgundy, National Gallery of Art, Washington DC

Le Boucq d'après Gossart - Philippe de Bourgogne (évêque d'Utrecht)

Philip of Burgundy

Early rule and alliance with England

Philippe le Bon
Statue of Philip the Good, in the Palace of the Dukes of Burgundy at Dijon

Philip became duke of Burgundy and count of Flanders, Artois and Franche-Comté upon the assassination of John the Fearless, his father, in 1419.[9] Philip accused Charles, the Dauphin of France and Philip's brother-in-law, of planning the murder, which took place during a meeting between John and Charles at Montereau. Because of this, he continued to prosecute the Armagnac–Burgundian Civil War, which in turn became entangled in the larger Hundred Years' War. In 1420, Philip allied himself with Henry V of England under the Treaty of Troyes. In 1423, the marriage of Philip's sister Anne to John, Duke of Bedford, regent for Henry VI of England (and also his uncle), strengthened the English alliance.

On 23 May 1430, Philip's troops under the Count of Ligny captured Joan of Arc at Compiègne[10] and later sold her to the English,[11] who orchestrated a heresy trial against her conducted by pro-Burgundian clerics. Despite this action against Joan of Arc, Philip's alliance with England was broken in 1435 when he signed the Treaty of Arras, which completely revoked the Treaty of Troyes and recognised Charles VII as king of France. Philip signed the treaty for a variety of reasons, one of which may have been a desire to be recognised as the preeminent duke in France.

This action would prove a poor decision in the long term; Charles VII and his successors saw the Duchy of Burgundy as a serious impediment to the expansion of royal authority in France, and for this reason they would permanently try to undermine the Burgundian state, subordinating it to French sovereignty[12]. Philip's defection to the French would prove not only catastrophic to the dual monarchy of England and France, but to his own domains as well, subordinating them to a powerful centralised Valois monarchy.

He then attacked Calais, a possession of the English, but the alliance with Charles was broken in 1439. Philip supported the revolt of the French nobles the following year (an event known as the Praguerie) and offered shelter to the Dauphin Louis, who had rebelled against his father Charles VII.

Geographic expansion

Philip was generally preoccupied with matters in his own territories and was seldom involved directly in the Hundred Years' War between England and France, although he did play a role during a number of periods, such as the campaign against Compiègne during which his troops captured Joan of Arc. He incorporated Namur into Burgundian territory in 1429 (by purchase from John III, Marquis of Namur) and Hainault and Holland, Friesland and Zeeland in 1432 with the defeat of Jacqueline, Countess of Hainault, in the last episode of the Hook and Cod wars. He inherited the Duchies of Brabant and Limburg and the Margraviate of Antwerp in 1430 on the death of his cousin Philip of Saint-Pol and purchased Luxembourg in 1443 from Elisabeth of Bohemia, Duchess of Luxembourg. In 1456, Philip also managed to ensure his illegitimate son David was elected Bishop of Utrecht and his nephew Louis of Bourbon elected Prince-Bishop of Liège.
It is not surprising that in 1435 Philip began to style himself the "Grand Duke of the West".

In 1463, Philip gave up some of his territory to King Louis XI of France. That year he also created an Estates-General for the Netherlands based on the French model. The first meeting of the Estates-General was to obtain a loan for a war against France and to ensure support for the succession of his son Charles I to his dominions. In 1465 and 1467, Philip crushed two rebellions in Liège.

Philip died in Bruges in 1467.

Court life and patron of the arts

Van der weyden miniature
Rogier van der Weyden miniature 1447-8. Philip dresses his best, in an extravagant chaperon, to be presented with a History of Hainault by the author, Jean Wauquelin, flanked by his son Charles and his chancellor Nicolas Rolin.

Philip's court can only be described as extravagant. Despite the flourishing bourgeois culture of Burgundy, with which the court kept in close touch, he and the aristocrats who formed most of his inner circle retained a world-view dominated by knightly chivalry. He declined membership in the English Order of the Garter in 1422, which could have been considered an act of treason against the king of France, his feudal overlord. Instead, he created his own Order of the Golden Fleece, based on the Knights of the Round Table and the myth of Jason, in 1430.

Philip had no fixed capital and moved the court between various palaces, the main urban ones being Brussels, Bruges, and Lille. He held grand feasts and other festivities, and the knights of his Order frequently travelled throughout his territory to participate in tournaments. In 1454, Philip planned a crusade against the Ottoman Empire, launching it at the Feast of the Pheasant, but this plan never materialized. In a period from 1444 to 1446, he is estimated to have spent a sum equivalent to 2% of Burgundy's main tax income in the recette génerale, with a single Italian supplier of silk and cloth of gold, Giovanni di Arrigo Arnolfini.[13]

Rogier van der Weyden workshop - Portrait of Isabella of Portugal - without frame
Portrait of Isabella of Portugal from the workshop of Rogier van der Weyden, c. 1445–50

Philip's court was regarded as the most splendid in Europe, and it became the accepted leader of taste and fashion, which probably helped the Burgundian economy considerably, as Burgundian (usually Flemish) luxury products became sought by the elites of other parts of Europe. During his reign, for example, the richest English commissioners of illuminated manuscripts moved away from English and Parisian products to those of the Netherlands, as did other foreign buyers. Philip himself is estimated to have added six hundred manuscripts to the ducal collection, making him by a considerable margin the most important patron of the period.[14] Jean Miélot was one of his secretaries, translating into French such works as Giovanni Bocaccio's Genealogia Deorum Gentilium.

Philip was also a considerable patron of other arts. He commissioned many tapestries (which he tended to prefer over paintings), pieces from goldsmiths, jewellery, and other works of art. It was during his reign that the Burgundian chapel became the musical center of Europe, with the activity of the Burgundian School of composers and singers. Gilles Binchois, Robert Morton, and later Guillaume Dufay, one of the most prominent composers of the 15th century, were all part of Philip's court chapel.

In 1428, Jan van Eyck traveled to Portugal to paint a portrait of the daughter of King John I, the Infanta Isabella, for Philip in advance of their marriage. With help from more experienced Portuguese shipbuilders, Philip established a shipyard in Bruges.

Rogier van der Weyden painted his portrait twice on panel, of which only copies survive, wearing the collar of the Order of the Golden Fleece. The only original van der Weyden of Philip to survive is a superb miniature from a manuscript (above left).[14] The painter Hugo van der Goes of the Early Netherlandish school is credited with creating paintings for the church where Philip's funeral was held.


Refused honours

See also


  1. ^ Vaughan 2005, p. 2.
  2. ^ Vaughan 2005, pp. 4, 6.
  3. ^ a b Vaughan 2004, p. 8.
  4. ^ a b Blockmans & Prevenier 1999, p. 73.
  5. ^ Vaughan 2004, p. 132.
  6. ^ Vaughan 2004, p. 196.
  7. ^ Vaughan 2004, p. 227.
  8. ^ Putnam 1908, pp. 69–71.
  9. ^ Vaughan 2004, p. 1.
  10. ^ Vale 1974, p. 58.
  11. ^ Gillespie 2017, p. 15.
  12. ^ Vaughan 2004, pp. 125–126.
  13. ^ Campbell 1998.
  14. ^ a b Kren & McKendrick 2003, p. 68.
  15. ^ de Sousa, Antonio Caetano (1735). Historia genealogica da casa real portugueza (in Portuguese). Lisbon: Lisboa Occidental. p. 147.


Further reading

External links

Philip the Good
Cadet branch of the House of Valois
Born: 31 July 1396 Died: 15 June 1467
Preceded by
John the Fearless
Duke of Burgundy
Count of Artois and Flanders
Count Palatine of Burgundy

10 September 1419 – 15 July 1467
Succeeded by
Charles the Bold
Count of Charolais
28 January 1405 – November 1433
Preceded by
John III
Margrave of Namur
1 March 1429 – 15 July 1467
Preceded by
Philip I
Duke of Brabant, Limburg and Lothier
14 August 1430 – 15 July 1467
Preceded by
Count of Hainaut, Holland and Zeeland
April 1432 – 15 July 1467
Preceded by
Duke of Luxemburg
1443 – 15 July 1467
1430 in France

Events from the year 1430 in France

1467 in France

Events from the year 1467 in France

Anthony, bastard of Burgundy

Antoine de Bourgogne (1421 – 5 May 1504), known to his contemporaries as the Bastard of Burgundy or Le grand bâtard ("the Grand Bastard"), was the natural son (and second child) of Philip III, Duke of Burgundy, and one of his mistresses, Jeanne de Presle. He was comte de La Roche (Ardenne), de Grandpré, de Sainte-Menehould et de Guînes, seigneur de Crèvecoeur, Beveren et Tournehem, and chevalier of the Golden Fleece.

Burgundian School

The Burgundian School was a group of composers active in the 15th century in what is now northern and eastern France, Belgium, and the Netherlands, centered on the court of the Dukes of Burgundy.

The main names associated with this school are Guillaume Dufay, Gilles Binchois, Antoine Busnois and (as an influence), the English composer John Dunstaple. The Burgundian School was the first phase of activity of the Franco-Flemish School, the central musical practice of the Renaissance in Europe.

Charles the Bold

Charles the Bold (also translated as Charles the Reckless) (French: Charles le Téméraire, Dutch: Karel de Stoute, 10 November 1433 – 5 January 1477), baptised Charles Martin, was Duke of Burgundy from 1467 to 1477. He was the last Duke of Burgundy from the House of Valois.

His early death at the Battle of Nancy at the hands of Swiss mercenaries fighting for René II, Duke of Lorraine was of great consequence in European history. The Burgundian domains, long wedged between the growing powers of France and the Habsburg Empire, were divided, but the precise disposition of the vast and disparate territorial possessions involved was disputed among the European powers for centuries.

Congress of Arras

The Congress of Arras was a diplomatic congregation established at Arras in the summer of 1435 during the Hundred Years' War, between representatives of England, France, and Burgundy. Toward the close of the Hundred Years' War, both the Congress and the subsequent Treaty of Arras represented diplomatic failures for England and major successes for France.

Hans Memling

Hans Memling (also spelled Memlinc; c. 1430 – 11 August 1494) was a German painter who moved to Flanders and worked in the tradition of Early Netherlandish painting. He was born in the Middle Rhine region, and probably spent his childhood in Mainz. He had moved to the Netherlands by 1465 and spent time in the Brussels workshop of Rogier van der Weyden. He was subsequently made a citizen of Bruges, where he became one of the leading artists, painting both portraits and diptychs for personal devotion and several large religious works, continuing the style he learned in his youth. He became very successful, and in 1480 was listed among the wealthiest citizens in a city tax list.

He married Anna de Valkenaere sometime between 1470 and 1480, and they had three children. Memling's art was rediscovered, and became very popular, in the 19th century.

Isabella of Portugal, Duchess of Burgundy

Isabella of Portugal (22 February 1397 – 17 December 1471) was Duchess of Burgundy as the third wife of Duke Philip the Good. Born a Portuguese infanta of the House of Aviz, Isabella was the only surviving daughter of King John I of Portugal and his wife Philippa of Lancaster. Her son by Philip was Charles the Bold, the last Valois Duke of Burgundy. Isabella was the regent of the Burgundian Low Countries during the absence of her spouse in 1432 and in 1441–1443. She served as her husband's representative in negotiations with England regarding trade relations in 1439 and those with the rebellious cities of Holland in 1444.

Jacques Daret

Jacques Daret (c. 1404 – c. 1470) was an Early Netherlandish painter born in Tournai (Doornik; now in Belgium), where he would spend much of his life. Daret spent 15 years as a pupil in the studio of Robert Campin, alongside Rogier or Rogelet de le Pasture (assumed by scholars to be Rogier van der Weyden), and afterwards became a master in his own right. He became a favorite of the Burgundian court, and his patron for 20 years was the abbot of St. Vaast in Arras, Jean de Clercq.

Though many works of Daret are mentioned in Jean de Clercq's account books, only four panels have survived: all are from the so-called Arras Altarpiece or Saint-Vaast Altarpiece, painted for the abbot between 1433 and 1435. These paintings show a striking resemblance to the Flemish realism of the Master of Flémalle. This is argued by most scholars to be evidence that the Master of Flémalle was Daret's master, Robert Campin.

Daret features rather more in the art historical debates over his period than the merit of his work alone would justify because he is relatively well-documented, and in particular can be securely identified as the creator of the altarpiece mentioned above, as well as a pupil of Campin. The stylistic similarity between him and the Master of Flémalle is therefore crucial evidence in the identification of the latter with Campin. This then becomes an important connection in establishing a link between Robert Campin/the Master of Flémalle and his other major pupil, Rogier van der Weyden.

Jan van Eyck

Jan van Eyck (Dutch: [ˈjɑn vɑn ˈɛik]) (before c. 1390 – 9 July 1441) was a Flemish painter active in Bruges. He is one of the founders of Early Netherlandish painting and one of the most significant representatives of Early Northern Renaissance art. The few surviving records of his early life indicate that he was born around 1380–1390, most likely in Maaseik (present day Belgium). He took employment in the Hague around 1422, when he was already a master painter with workshop assistants, and employed as painter and valet de chambre with John III the Pitiless, ruler of Holland and Hainaut. He was then employed in Lille as court painter to Philip the Good, Duke of Burgundy after John's death in 1425, until he moved to Bruges in 1429 where he lived until his death. He was highly regarded by Philip and undertook a number of diplomatic visits abroad, including to Lisbon in 1428 to explore the possibility of a marriage contract between the duke and Isabella of Portugal.About 20 surviving paintings are confidently attributed to him, as well as the Ghent Altarpiece and the illuminated miniatures of the Turin-Milan Hours, all dated between 1432 and 1439. Ten are dated and signed with a variation of his motto ALS IK KAN (As I (Eyck) can), a pun on his name, which he typically painted in Greek characters.

Van Eyck painted both secular and religious subject matter, including altarpieces, single-panel religious figures and commissioned portraits. His work includes single panels, diptychs, triptychs, and polyptych panels. He was well paid by Philip, who sought that the painter was secure financially and had artistic freedom so that he could paint "whenever he pleased". Van Eyck's work comes from the International Gothic style, but he soon eclipsed it, in part through a greater emphasis on naturalism and realism. He achieved a new level of virtuosity through his developments in the use of oil paint. He was highly influential, and his techniques and style were adopted and refined by the Early Netherlandish painters.

Jean Wauquelin presenting his 'Chroniques de Hainaut' to Philip the Good

Jean Wauquelin presenting his 'Chroniques de Hainaut' to Philip the Good is a presentation miniature believed to have been painted by the Flemish artist Rogier van der Weyden (or if not actually from his hand then certainly by his workshop to his designs). It decorates the frontispiece to the Chroniques de Hainaut, MS KBR.9242, a translation from Latin into French of a three volume history in of the County of Hainaut by Jean Wauquelin. The Latin text was originally written by the 14th century Franciscan historian Jacques de Guyse.

The majority, if not all, of the figures (described in the text as "Chevaliers, conseillers, et chambellans", are portraits of historical figures. The decorative border of the presentation miniature includes the arms of the various territories making up Philip's dukedom, which he had considerably expanded, interspersed with his personal emblem of sparks being struck from a flint.

The translation had been commissioned by Philip, and the manuscript that both contains the miniature and shows it being presented was at that point the only one existing. From the court accounts the progress of the translation (though not the decoration of the manuscript) can be traced, and the miniature is presumed to date from around the time of the actual presentation to Philip in March 1448. The entire set of three volumes are now in the Royal Library of Belgium.

It is well preserved, and the only known manuscript miniature by van der Weyden.

John the Fearless

John the Fearless (French: Jean sans Peur ; Dutch: Jan zonder Vrees; 28 May 1371 – 10 September 1419) was Duke of Burgundy (the second of the Valois dynasty) as John I from 1404 until his death. A scion of the royal house of France, he played an important role in French affairs during the early 15th century, in particular the struggles to rule the country for the mentally ill King Charles VI (his first cousin) and the Hundred Years' War with England. His rash, unscrupulous, and violent political dealings contributed to the eruption of the Armagnac–Burgundian Civil War in France, and culminated in his assassination in 1419.

The involvement of Charles, the heir to the French throne, in his assassination, prompted John's son and successor Philip to seek an alliance with the English, thereby bringing the Hundred Years' War to its final phase.

Limbourg brothers

The Limbourg brothers (Dutch: Gebroeders van Limburg; fl. 1385 – 1416) were famous

Dutch miniature painters (Herman, Paul, and Johan) from the city of Nijmegen. They were active in the early 15th century in France and Burgundy, working in the style known as International Gothic. They created what is certainly the best-known late medieval illuminated manuscript, the Très Riches Heures du Duc de Berry.

Madonna of Chancellor Rolin

The Madonna of Chancellor Rolin is an oil painting by the Early Netherlandish master Jan van Eyck, dating from around 1435. It is kept in the Musée du Louvre, Paris, and was commissioned by Nicolas Rolin, aged 60, chancellor of the Duchy of Burgundy, whose votive portrait takes up the left side of the picture, for his parish church, Notre-Dame-du-Chastel in Autun, where it remained until the church burnt down in 1793. After a period in Autun Cathedral, it was moved to the Louvre in 1805.

Margaret of Bavaria

Margaret of Bavaria, (1363 – January 1424, Dijon), was Duchess of Burgundy by marriage to John the Fearless, Duke of Burgundy. She was the regent of the Burgundian Low countries during the absence of her spouse in 1404–1419 and the regent in French Burgundy during the absence of her son in 1419–1423. She became most known for her successful defense of French Burgundy against John IV, Count of Armagnac in 1419.

Pierre Coustain

Pierre Coustain was a painter and sculptor at the Court of Philip the Good. His name occurs in the records of the brotherhood of St. Luke at Bruges in the year 1450 as Painter Royal.

Portrait of Isabella of Portugal (van der Weyden)

The Portrait of Isabella of Portugal is an oil-on-oak Early Netherlandish painting of Isabella of Portugal, Duchess of Burgundy, the third wife of Philip the Good. Executed around 1450, the painting had been attributed to Rogier van der Weyden, but is now believed to be from a member of his workshop.Isabella's expression is slightly mocking. She is dressed is an ornately decorated red and gold brocade dress, tightly pulled below at her waist by a green sash, although the artist did not match the brocade pattern on the sleeves. The high butterfly hennin and the rings on her fingers denote nobility. The duchess' fingers are elongated, typical of van der Weyden's style, yet this is believed to be a copy of an original, now-lost portrait van der Weyden portrait.On the upper right is the inscription PERSICA SIBYLLA IA, which suggests it may have been one of a series of portraits depicting sibyls, an identity which contrasts with Isabella's. The inscription and brown faux wood background are later additions.Who owned the painting before 1629 is unknown. It may have belonged to Alexandre d'Arenberg, duke of Croy and prince of Chimay, from the end about 1590 to 1629. It was bought by a dealer in 1883 and later sold to Adolph Carl de Rothschild a few years later; when he died in 1900, his son, Baron Maurice de Rothschild inherited the painting who sold it to John D. Rockefeller in 1927. It stayed in the Rockefeller family until the Getty Center bought it in 1978.

Portrait of Philip the Good (van der Weyden)

Portrait of Philip the Good is a lost oil on wood panel painting by the Early Netherlandish painter Rogier van der Weyden, dated variously from the mid 1440s to sometime after 1450.

Several versions and copies of the lost original exist, including in Lille, Antwerp, London and Paris, mostly attributed to his workshop. The highest quality version is in the Musée des Beaux-Arts, Dijon. The original may have been commissioned as half of a matrimonial diptych; given his age in the painting we can assume that it would have been alongside a portrait of his third wife, Isabella of Portugal. Van der Weyden has earlier portrayed Philip in the c 1447 miniature Jean Wauquelin presenting his 'Chroniques de Hainaut' to Philip the Good.

Philip the Good was Duke of Burgundy from 1419 until his death in 1467, and had appointed van der Weyden as his official court painter. He is pictured aged around 50 years, in three-quarter profile. As was van der Weyden's habit, the sitter's face has been elongated, even though heavy drinking had by the time taken a toll on his features, visible in his portrait in the "Recueil d'Arras". He wears a black gown and black chaperon, and a jewelled collar of firesteels in the shape of the letter "B", representing the Duchy of Burgundy, ending in the insignia of the Order of the Golden Fleece He holds a folded paper in his joined hands, which have been highly detailed by the artist.

Given his stature, it is unlikely that Philip sat for the artist, it is maybe for this reason that the portrait seems highly idealised, although his double chin is still pronounced. Art historian Lorne Campbell notes that the "Netherlanders expected paintings to be credibly naturalistic but ... veracity was not their ultimate or dominant aim." The British Royal Collection describe their version as a "stylised, emotionless and idealised image of the ruler".The portrait served as the basis for many later depictions of Philip, though not all stuck to Van der Weyden's idealised view point, especially since the 17th century he has been shown as thicker set, aligning with contemporary written descriptions.

Rogier van der Weyden

Rogier van der Weyden (Dutch: [roːˈɣiːr vɑn dɛr ˈʋɛi̯də(n)]) or Roger de la Pasture (1399 or 1400 – 18 June 1464) was an Early Netherlandish painter whose surviving works consist mainly of religious triptychs, altarpieces and commissioned single and diptych portraits. He was highly successful and internationally famous in his lifetime; his paintings were exported – or taken – to Italy and Spain, and he received commissions from, amongst others, Philip the Good, Netherlandish nobility, and foreign princes. By the latter half of the 15th century, he had eclipsed Jan van Eyck in popularity. However his fame lasted only until the 17th century, and largely due to changing taste, he was almost totally forgotten by the mid-18th century. His reputation was slowly rebuilt during the following 200 years; today he is known, with Robert Campin and van Eyck, as the third (by birth date) of the three great Early Flemish artists (Vlaamse Primitieven or "Flemish Primitives"), and widely as the most influential Northern painter of the 15th century.Very few details of van der Weyden's life are known. The few facts we know come from fragmentary civic records. Yet the attribution of paintings now associated to him is widely accepted, partly on the basis of circumstantial evidence, but primarily on the stylistic evidence of a number of by paintings by an innovative master.

Van der Weyden worked from life models, and his observations were closely observed. Yet he often idealised certain elements of his models' facial features, who were typically statuesque, especially in his triptychs. All of his forms are rendered with rich, warm colourisation and a sympathetic expression, while he is known for his expressive pathos and naturalism. His portraits tend to be half length and half profile, and he is as sympathetic here as in his religious triptychs. Van der Weyden used an unusually broad range of colours and varied tones; in his finest work the same tone is not repeated in any other area of the canvas, so even the whites are varied.

Ancestors of Philip the Good[15]
16. Philip VI of France
8. John II of France
17. Joan the Lame
4. Philip the Bold
18. John of Bohemia
9. Bonne of Luxembourg
19. Elizabeth of Bohemia
2. John the Fearless
20. Louis I, Count of Flanders
10. Louis II of Flanders
21. Margaret I, Countess of Burgundy
5. Margaret III, Countess of Flanders
22. John III, Duke of Brabant
11. Margaret of Brabant
23. Marie of Évreux
1. Philip the Good
24. Louis II, Duke of Bavaria
12. Louis IV, Holy Roman Emperor
25. Matilda of Habsburg
6. Albert I, Duke of Bavaria
26. William I, Count of Hainaut
13. Margaret II, Countess of Hainaut
27. Joan of Valois, Countess of Hainaut
3. Margaret of Bavaria
28. Bolesław III the Generous
14. Louis I of Brzeg
29. Margaret of Bohemia
7. Margaret of Brieg
30. Henry IV the Faithful
15. Agnes of Głogów
31. Matilda of Brandenburg-Salzwedel

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