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Tom Gurney BSc (Hons) is an art history expert with over 20 years experience
Published on June 19, 2020 / Updated on October 14, 2023
Email: [email protected] / Phone: +44 7429 011000

Rogier van der Weyden is the only early Netherlandish painter to have a clear connection to sculpture, partly demonstrated by sculptural and architectural features within many of his paintings.

The vast majority of publications around this artist have been dominated by his work in painting, with perhaps some inclusion of his drawings. Sculptural work is mentioned briefly, but without much detail. An element to this has been the difficulty in differentiating his drawings and sculptural designs from contributions by his workshop. This problem exists throughout his career, in all mediums, but is particularly an issue with his work in this form. Thankfully, a recent book by Bart Fransen has focused purely on Rogier van der Weyden's work in sculpture and much of what you read here has been contributed by that fine publication.

There is another aspect to this that concerns the Northern and Italian Renaissance eras, which is that the artists from the Netherlandish and neighbouring regions were not as successful in sculpture as those from the Papal States of Italy. Art historians continue to celebrate the likes of Lorenzo Ghiberti, Filippo Brunelleschi and Donatello but the contributions of Netherlandish regions towards sculpture is lesser known. Therefore, it is important to focus on a painter whose work within sculpture is understood, respected and in some cases documented.