By van der Weyden, Rogier
Arts & Activities , Vol. 137, No. 1
Rogier van der Weyden (Flemish; about 1400-1464). Saint Luke Drawing a Portrait of the Virgin, about 1435-40. Oil and tempera on panel; 54 1/8" x 435/s". Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.
THINGS TO LEARN
* During the later Middle Ages and the early Renaissance, the art of Europe was divided. Art produced in the northern countries of Germany, Holland, Flanders, and northern France continued to be more Gothic than than the art of southern Europe. In Italy, for example, art rapidly became much more colorful and realistic.
Students can advance their understanding of this difference by getting to know examples of both northern and southern works of art from about the same time, starting with paintings by Rogier van der Weyden.
* In order to have a better understanding of exactly where the country of Flanders (Belguim) is, students may need to study a map of Europe and also find the cities of Tournai and Brussels. Tournai has remained a small town but Brussels is now a large city and is the capital of Belgium.
Having found Tournai and Brussels on the map, students may be interested to learn about another important Belgian city, Antwerp, where later the distinguished Flemish artist, Peter Paul Rubens, lived and worked.
* Until recently, the only way a young person could train for many kinds of skilled work was to become an apprentice to a person (a master) already skilled in that kind of work. An apprentice (or his father) signed a contract with a master and agreed to remain with the master for several years while working and learning a particular craft. During this time, the master agreed to feed and clothe the apprentice and also give him a place to stay-usually in his own home.
After his apprenticeship ended, a young man was qualified to establish himself in his own workshop and become a member of a guild. A guild was a local organization of craftsmen or artists who maintained quality of work and guarded their privileges in a town or city.
THINGS TO DO
* Students may improve their ability to draw and paint clothing by setting up still lifes composed of heavy drapery. Using paintings such as the one reproduced here for guidance, they can practice rendering the way hanging cloth bends and folds. While people no longer wear such heavy robes, starting with heavy cloth (a blanket, perhaps) is easier than the lighter, thinner kind of clothing people wear today. …