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Rogier van der Weyden produced The Virgin and Child in around 1454 and it is regarded by most as one of his finest paintings of all.
This breaktaking portrait can now be found at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, making it one of the few van der Weyden paintings to be outside of Europe. Whilst the theme is nothing new, with many artists having depicted their own versions of this famous scene within the Renaissance, this artist does add his own unique style onto it which makes this painting particularly intriguing. There is also some artistic value to be had from comparing his contribution with those of other related artists.
The artist produced several other depictions of the Madonna, but this is likely to have been the last (and smallest). Rogier van der Weyden was a prolific artist, by most accounts, but only a small number of paintings remain from his career. It was even fewer before some recent attributions that have been switched to his own. Sadly, many artists from this era have experienced artwork being lost, stolen or damaged over the centuries and so we must be grateful for what we do have left.
This artwork was powerful enough to be used for private prayers and devotion to its figures, with its bright colours and carefully crafted figures being of particular note. Elements of his version suggest influence from Italian artists, who would often use a similar balance and posture to the two. In fact, some of van der Weyden's work would later be purchased by buyers in France and Italy, so his style was certainly palatable right across Europe, once each region became aware of his work.