Transition, Robert Campin

Born in Louveciennes, Belgium in 1375.

Along with Van Eyck and Rogert van der Weyden, he is considered the initiator of Flemish pre-Renaissance painting.

Known until his identification as the Master of Flémalle, he is an artista shrouded in mystery, biographical information is known about him, but his works are all attributed, not documented.

His study continues to be  surrounded by numerous unknowns, and is a constant concérn for  researchers of Flemish painting.

His artistic personality can only be   reconstructed from the identification of him, as we said with the Master of Flémalle.

Its name is  due to the German historian Hugo von Tschudi, when in 1898 he assigned a group of works from the Stächeldsches Kunstinstitut, in Frankfurt, from Flemalle Castle,  erroneously called an abbey, near  Liège, thus opening one of the great questions of flamish painting: discover who was behind this anonymous painter.

It is only through the works that have been  awarded to the Master of Flemalle, that one can somehow get to know this artist and his style.

The few exísting documents speak of Robert Campin as a master painter in the city of Tournai in 1406, who was active between 1410-1440,   directed an important workshop, and had  apprentices such as Roger van der Weyden and Haques Daret.

From 1423 his life becomes complicated after being signíficant in the revólt  carried out by the artisans against the aristocracy.

This same year he  became dean of the brotherhood of San Lucas, which brought together goldsmiths and painters, and a year later he became a member of one of the three city councils, in which he held various public functions.

But his luck changed in 1429 when he was  banned, because of his participation in the   uprising, from holding any  public office.

Even in 1432, again invólved in another investigátion, he is convícted of extramárital affairs.

Despite these  vicissitudes, his populárity never diminished, which he continued to lead a large workshop, the production of which has unfortunately been lost.

He had a powerful ínfluence on many masters who succeeded him,  revealing to us great powers of observation that had not been found in any painter before.

He was one of the first to use oil instead of the hither to common egg tempera, which gave his painting the brilliance of color characteristic of the period.

The figures that we can see in his canvases are brimming with  strength and roundness, using shadows and light to compose scenes with complicated perspectives.

However, it was at the end of the 19th century that it became clear that van Eyck was preceded by the author of the Mérode Altarpiece, dated around 1428, today in the Metropolitan Museum in New York.

Other panels in a similar style,  supposedly from the Château de Flémalle, are on displáy today in Frankfurt am Main.

 It was  assumed that these works belonged to a Master of Flémalle whose identity at that time had not been established.

It was already in the 20th century, when experts identified Robert Campin as the Master of Flémalle, documented as a Tournai master painter since 1406.

This fact is based on a document that   quotes two disciples of Campin, Jacques Daret and Rogelet de la Pasture, the latter, in all  probabílity, Roger van der Weyden.

He died in Tournai, Belgium, on April 26, 1444.

The Prado Museum in Madrid has several of his works, The  Betrothal of the Virgin, Saint John the Baptist and the Franciscan master Enrique de Wer, Saint Bárbara, Sant Jaume and Saint Clara; and the Thyssen Bornemisza Museum in Madrid, one, Portrait of a Robust Man. Robert de Masmines, from 1425.

trianart photo

Publicado por ilabasmati

Licenciada en Bellas Artes, FilologÍa Hispánica y lIiteratura Inglesa.

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