Overview

This painting is an outstanding example of the abstract elegance characteristic of Rogier's late portraits. Although the identity of the sitter is unknown, her air of self–conscious dignity suggests that she is a member of the nobility. Her costume and severly plucked eyebrows and hairline are typical of those favored by highly placed ladies of the Burgundian court.

The stylish costume does not distract attention from the sitter. The dress, with its dark bands of fur, almost merges with the background. The spreading headdress frames and focuses attention upon her face. Light falls with exquisite beauty along the creases of the sheer veiling over her head, and gentle shadows mark her fine bone structure. In contrast to the spareness of execution in most of the painting, the gold filigree of her belt buckle is rendered with meticulous precision. The scarlet belt serves as a foil to set off her delicately clasped hands.

Rogier excelled as a portrait painter because he so vividly presented the character of the persons he portrayed. The downcast eyes, the firmly set lips, and the tense fingers reflect this woman's mental concentration. Rogier juxtaposed the strong sensation of the sitter's acute mental activity to his rigid control of the composition and the formality of her costume and pose, presenting the viewer with an image of passionate austerity.

Inscription

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Marks and Labels

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Provenance

Probably Leopold Friedrich Franz, Prince of Anhalt [d. 1817], Gotisches Haus, Wörlitz, near Dessau.[1] Probably Leopold Friedrich, Prince of Anhalt [d. 1871]; Friedrich I, Duke of Anhalt [d. 1904];[2] Friedrich II, Duke of Anhalt, Gotisches Haus, Wörlitz, and Herzogliches Schloss, Dessau, until 1925. (Bachstitz Gallery, The Hague, 1925).[3] (Duveen Brothers, Inc., London, New York, and Paris); purchased December 1926 by Andrew W. Mellon, Pittsburgh and Washington, D.C.; deeded 30 March 1932 to The A.W. Mellon Educational and Charitable Trust, Pittsburgh; gift 1937 to NGA.

Exhibition History

1902
Exposition des primitifs flamands et d'art ancien, Hôtel de Gouvernement Provincial, Bruges, 1902, no. 108.
1927
Flemish and Belgian Art 1300-1900, Royal Academy of Arts, London, 1927, no. 33.
1929
Loan Exhibition of Flemish Primitives, F. Kleinberger Galleries, New York, 1929, no. 8.
2001
Virtue and Beauty: Leonardo's 'Ginevra de' Benci' and Renaissance Portraits of Women, National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., 2001-2002, no. 13, color repro.

Bibliography

1893
Wauters, A. J. Die vlämische Malerei. Leipzig, n.d.: 64.
1897
Firmenich-Richartz, E. "Hugo van der Goes: Eine Studie zur Geschichte der altvlämischen Malerschule." Zeitschrift für christliche Kunst 9 (1897): 385.
1899
Friedländer, Max J. In Ausstellung von Kustwerken des Mittelalters und der Renaissance aus Berliner Privatbesitz. Exh. cat. Kunstgeschichtlichen Gesellschaft, Berlin, 1899: 7.
1900
Wauters, A. J. Le Musée de Bruxelles. Tableaux anciens. Notice, guide et catalogue. Brussels, 1900: 60-61.
1902
Hulin de Loo, Georges. Bruges. Exposition des tableaux flamands des XIVe, XVe, et XVIe siècles. Catalogue crtique. Ghent, 1902: 25, no. 108.
1902
Hymans, Henri. "L'Exposition des primitifs flamands à Bruges." GBA 28 (1902): 294, repro. 293. (Repr. as a book, Paris, 1902: 62, repro. 59.)
1903
Friedländer, Max J. "Die Brügger Leihausstellung von 1902." Repertorium für Kunstwissenschaft 26 (1903): 71.
1903
Friedländer, Max J. Meisterwerke der niederländischen Malerei des XV. und XVI. Jahrhunderts auf der Ausstellung zu Brügge 1902. Munich, 1903: 6, no. 12, pl. 12.
1903
Weale, W. H. James. "The Early Painters of the Netherlands as Illustrated by the Bruges Exhibitiion of 1902." The Burlington Magazine 1 (1903):202, repro. 209.
1906
Voll, Karl. Die alniederlädische Malerei von Jan van Eyck bis Memling. Leipzig, 1906: 73, 289.
1907
Reinach, Salomon. Répertoire de peintures du moyen âge et de la Renaissance (1280-1580). 2 vols. Paris, 1907: 2:484, no. 2, repro.
1907
Winkler, Friedrich. "Rogier van der Weyden." In Thieme-Becker. 37 vols. Leipzig, 1907-1950: 35(1942):472, 475.
1908
Laban, Ferdinand. "Ein neuer Roger: Begleitworte zu seiner Veröffentlichung." Zeitschrift für bildende Kunst N.F. 19 (1908): 58, 60, 64, repro. 55.
1913
Winkler, Friedrich. Der Meister von Flémalle und Rogier van der Weyden. Strasbourg, 1913: 53-55, 176.
1916
Friedländer, Max J. Von Eyck bis Brugel. Berlin, 1916: 175.
1921
Conway, Sir Martin. The Van Eycks and their Followers. London, 1921: 136.
1923
Burger, Willy. Roger van der Weyden. Leipzig, 1923: 50-51, 70, pl. 48b.
1924
Friedländer, Max J. Die altniederländische Malerei 14 vols. 1924-1937. Berlin, 1924: 2:41, 101, no. 29-a, pl. 28. (English ed., 14 vols., 1967-1976. Leiden, 1967: 2:26, 66, no. 29-a, pl. 55.)
1925
Art News 24 (10 October 1925): 6.
1926
Destrée, Jules. "Roger van der Weyden (Roger de la Pasture)." Revue de l'Art 49 (1926): repro. 145.
1926
Holmes, Sir Charles. "Portraits by Roger van der Weyden." The Burlington Magazine 48 (1926): 122-128, pl. B.
1926
Hulin de Loo, Georges. "Robert Campin or Rogier van der Weyden? Some Portraits Painted between 1432 and 1444." The Burlington Magazine 49 (1926): 273.
1926
Art News 24 (30 January 1926): 1, repro.
1926
Stein, Wilhelm. "Die Bildnisse von Roger van der Weyden." Jahrbuch der königlich Preussischen Kunstsammlungen (Jahrbuch der Berliner Museen) 47 (1926): 13-14.
1927
Demonts, Louis. "L'Exposition d'art flamand à la Royal Academy de Londres." Gazette des Beaux-Arts 15 (1927): 262.
1928
Hulin de Loo, Georges. "Hans Memlinc in Rogier van der Weyden's Studio." The Burlington Magazine 52 (1928): 172-177, pl. 4B.
1928
Jamot, Paul. "Roger van der Weyden et le prétendu Maître de Flémalle." Gazette des Beaux-Arts 18 (1928): 276-277, repro. 281.
1929
Burrows, Carlyle. "Exhibitions of Flemish Primitive Painting." Parnassus 1 (November, 1929): 6-9, repro.
1929
Rutter, Frank. "Notes of the Month." International Studio 94, no. 389 (October 1929): 65, repro.
1929
Singleton, Esther. Old World Masters in New World Collections. New York, 1929: 166-168, repro.
1930
Destrée, Jules. Roger de la Pasture van der Weyden. Paris and Brussels, 1930: 180-181, pl. 137.
1930
Valentiner, Wilhelm R., ed. Unknown Masterpieces in Public and Private Collections. London, 1930: n.p., pl. 35.
1935
Tietze, Hans. Meisterwerke europäischer Malerei in Amerika. Vienna, 1935: 127, repro. (English ed., Masterpieces of European Painting in America. New York, 1939: 127, repro.).
1937
Cortissoz, Royal. An Introduction to the Mellon Collection. Boston, 1937: 34-35.
1938
Hulin de Loo, Georges. "Rogier van der Weyden." In Biographie Nationale de Belgique. 29 vols. Brussels, 1938: 27:col. 241.
1938
Schöne, Wolfgang. Dieric Bouts und seine Schule. Berlin and Leipzig, 1938: 61.
1939
Mather, Frank Jewett, Jr. Western European Painting of the Renaissance. New York, 1939: 77, fig. 43.
1941
De Tolnay, Charles. "Flemish Paintings in the National Gallery of Art." Magazine of Art 34 (1941): 186, 200, fig. 18.
1941
Duveen Brothers. Duveen Pictures in Public Collections of America. New York, 1941: no. 169, repro.
1941
Held, Julius S. "Masters of Northern Europe, 1430-1660, in the National Gallery." Art News 40 (June, 1941): 11, 13, repro.
1941
Preliminary Catalogue of Paintings and Sculpture. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1941: 214, no. 44.
1941
"World Masterpieces Lend Supreme Distinction to National Gallery of Art." The Washington Star (16 March 1941): F6.
1942
Book of Illustrations. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1942: 240, repro. 42.
1944
Cairns, Huntington, and John Walker, eds., Masterpieces of Painting from the National Gallery of Art. New York, 1944: 86, color repro.
1945
Davies, Martin. National Gallery Catalogues. Early Netherlandish School. London, 1945: 112, under no. 1433 (2d ed. 1955: 127; 3d ed. 1968: 171).
1948
Davenport, Millia. The Book of Costume. 2 vols. New York, 1948: 1:306, no. 819, repro.
1948
Musper, Theodore. Untersuchungen zu Rogier van der Weyden und Jan van Eyck. Stuttgart, 1948: 23-24, 59, fig. 66.
1948
Puyvelde, Leo van. The Flemish Primitives. Brussels, 1948: 27, pl. 45.
1949
Paintings and Sculpture from the Mellon Collection. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1949 (reprinted 1953 and 1958): 55, repro.
1950
Winkler, Friedrich. "Rogier van der Weyden's Early Portraits." Art Quarterly 13 (1950): 215.
1951
Beenken, Hermann. Rogier van der Weyden. Munich, 73-75, fig. 92.
1952
De Tolnay, Charles. "Remarques sur la Joconde." La Revue des Arts 2 (1952): 23-24.
1953
Panofsky Erwin. Early Netherlandish Painting: Its Origins and Character. 2 vols. Cambridge, Mass., 1953: 1:292, 295, 477, 2: pl. 226, fig. 367.
1954
Davies, Martin. Primitifs Flamands. Corpus. The National Gallery, London. 3 vols. Antwerp, 1954: 2:198, under no. 60.
1954
Genaille, Robert. From Van Eyck to Brueghel. Translated by Leslie Schenk. New York, 1954: 46, 49, color repro.
1954
Tietze, Hans. Treasures of the Great National Galleries. New York, 1954: 112, 124, pl. 196.
1956
Walker, John. National Gallery of Art, Washington. New York, 1956: 36, repro.
1957
Shapley, Fern Rusk. Comparisons in Art: A Companion to the National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC. London, 1957 (reprinted 1959): pl. 59
1960
Broadley Hugh T. Flemish Painting in the National Gallery of Art (Booklet no. 5 in Ten Schools of Painting in the National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC). Washington, 1960: 4, 16-17, color repro.
1960
The National Gallery of Art and Its Collections. Foreword by Perry B. Cott and notes by Otto Stelzer. National Gallery of Art, Washington (undated, 1960s): 25, color repro. 11.
1963
Walker, John. National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.. New York, 1963 (reprinted 1964 in French, German, and Spanish): 100, repro.
1965
Summary Catalogue of European Paintings and Sculpture. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1965: 139
1966
Cairns, Huntington, and John Walker, eds. A Pageant of Painting from the National Gallery of Art. 2 vols. New York, 1966: 1:80, color repro.
1966
Frinta, Mojmír S. The Genius of Robert Campin. The Hague, 1966: 81.
1966
The Women I Love: These Lovely Immigrants Are Part of Our National Treasure.” This Week Magazine (January 9, 1966): 10, color repro.
1967
Eckardt, Götz. Die Schönheit der Frau in der europäischen Malerei. Berlin, 1967: 11, pl. 11.
1968
Cuttler, Charles D. Northern Painting, from Pucelle to Bruegel: Fourteenth, Fifteenth, and Sixteenth Centuries. New York, 1968: 125, fig. 145.
1968
European Paintings and Sculpture: Illustrations (Companion to the Summary Catalogue, 1965). Washington, 1968: 126, no. 44, repro.
1968
Whinney, Margaret. Early Flemish Painting. New York and Washington, 1968: 66, pl. 29.
1970
Blum, Shirley Neilsen. Review of The Genius of Robert Campin by Mojmír Frinta. In The Art Bulletin 52 (1970): 435.
1970
Cooke, Hereward Lester. The National Gallery of Art in Washington. Munich and Ahrbeck/Hanover, 1970: 62-63, color fig. 28.
1971
Fingerlin, Ilse. Gürtel des hohen und späten Mittelaters. Munich, 1971: 198.
1971
Schulz, Anne Markham. "The Columba Altarpiece and Roger van der Weyden's stylistic development." Münchener Jahrbuch der bildenden Kunst, series 3.22 (1971): 104, fig. 39.
1972
Davies, Martin. Rogier van der Weyden. London, 1972: 222, 241, pl. 107.
1972
Schabacker, Peter H. Review of Rogier van der Weyden by Martin Davies. In The Art Quarterly 35 (1972): 424.
1973
Campbell, Lorne. Review of Rogier van der Weyden by Martin Davies. In Apollo 98, no. 137 (July 1973): 64.
1974
Künstler, Gustav. "Vom Entstehen des Einzelbildnisses und seiner frühen Entwicklung in der flämischen Malerei." Wiener Jahrbuch für Kunstgeschichte N.S. 27 (1974): 47-48, fig. 13.
1975
European Paintings: An Illustrated Summary Catalogue. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1975: 374, 375, no. 44, repro.
1975
Kerber, Ottmar. "Rogier van der Weyden." Giessener Beiträge zur Kunstgeschichte 3 (1975): 48-49, 61.
1977
Eisler, Colin. Paintings from the Samuel H. Kress Collection: European Schools Excluding Italian. Oxford, 1977: 58, under K2088 (1961.9.28).
1979
Campbell, Lorne. "L'art du portrait dans l'oeuvre de Van der Weyden." In Rogier van der Weyden. Rogier de le Pasture. Exh. cat. Musée Communal de Bruxelles, 1979: 58, 62, repro. 60.
1979
Watson, Ross. National Gallery of Art, Washington. London, 1979: 47, 49, color pl. 31.
1980
Campbell, Lorne. Van der Weyden. New York, 1980: 9-10, 78, pl. 7.
1980
Scott, Margaret. The History of Dress Series. Late Gothic Europe, 1400-1500. London, 1980: 163, 165, 167, 241, fig. 93.
1984
Walker, John. National Gallery of Art, Washington. Rev. ed. New York, 1984: 126, no. 116, cover, color repro.
1985
European Paintings: An Illustrated Catalogue. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1985: 435, repro.
1985
Snyder, James. Northern Renaissance Art: Painting, Sculpture, the Graphic Arts from 1350-1575. New York, 1985: 138, fig. 134.
1986
Hand, John Oliver and Martha Wolff. Early Netherlandish Painting. The Collections of the National Gallery of Art Systematic Catalogue. Washington, 1986: 241-246, color repro. 243.
1990
Campbell, Lorne. Renaissance Portraits: European Portrait-Painting in the 14th, 15th, and 16th Centuries. New Haven, 1990: 96-97, color fig. 111.
1991
Kopper, Philip. America's National Gallery of Art: A Gift to the Nation. New York, 1991: 157, color repro.
1992
National Gallery of Art, Washington. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1992: 39, repro.
1995
Stokstad, Marilyn. Art History. New York, 1995: 628, fig. 17-13.
1996
Tansey, Richard G. and Fred S. Kleiner. Gardner's Art Through the Ages. Tenth Edition. Fort Worth, 1996: 663, color fig. 20.11.
1997
Dworetzky, John P., Psychology, 1997, no. 280-281, repro.
1997
Richler, Martha. National Gallery of Art, Washington: A World of Art. London, 1997: 42-43, color fig. 25.
1999
Stokstad, Marilyn. Art History, 2 vols. Revised ed. New York. 1999: 2:630-632, fig. 17.16.
2001
Virtue and Beauty: Leonardo's Ginevra de' Benci and Renaissance Portraits of Women. Exh. cat. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 2001-2002: no. 13.
2001
Southgate, M. Therese. The Art of JAMA II: Covers and Essays from The Journal of the American Medical Association. Chicago, 2001: 72-73, 210, color repro.
2002
Honour, Hugh and John Fleming. The Visual Arts: A History. 6th ed. New York, 2002: 440, fig. 10.16.
2004
Hand, John Oliver. National Gallery of Art: Master Paintings from the Collection. Washington and New York, 2004: 42-43, no. 29, color repro.
2005
Honour, Hugh and John Fleming. A World History of Art. 7th ed. New York, 2005: 428-429, fig. 10.16.
2005
Stokstad, Marilyn. Art History. Rev. 2nd ed. Upper Saddle River, 2005: 597-598, color fig. 17.17.
2009
Gariff, David, Eric Denker, and Dennis P. Weller. The World's Most Influential Painters and the Artists They Inspired. Hauppauge, NY, 2009: 23, color repro.

Conservation Notes

The panel is composed of a single board with vertical grain. There is an unpainted margin on all sides of the panel and a slight barbe at the edge of the painted surface. Incised lines at the edge of the painted surface were probably guidelines for the application of the ground. The painting is in excellent condition. It was cleaned about the time it left the Anhalt collection[1] and received a surface cleaning in 1980. There is a fine overall crackle pattern and some inpainting along the crackle. A few small, local losses on the lady's veil and kerchief, on her proper right sleeve, and to the left of her ear have been inpainted. There is some abrasion in the ear.

No underdrawing was made visible by infrared reflectography apart from a single stroke within the fur collar and parallel to its edge on the right side and another horizontal stroke in the little finger of the top hand. The lady's silhouette was originally even more slender than at present, since the thickly applied paint of the background extends into the area of the belt on either side. This change is visible in raking light, while the extreme slenderness of the original silhouette is evident in the x-radiograph.

\r
[1] According to a note on Friedläat;nder's photograph of the painting, "III.1926/Gereinigt Duveen Mellon," in Friedlander archive, R.K.D., The Hague.

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