The Great Role Models

The Great Role Models

The work of Early Netherlandish painters like Jan van Eyck provided crucial inspiration in terms of technique, such as the use of light and shade. To begin with, though, artists in German-speaking regions only took on individual elements from their Flemish role models, such as reflective surfaces or the first moves toward a depiction of space in the paintings. Viewed as a whole, though, the distance between them remained large.
 

Jan van Eyck: Madonna in the Church, ca. 1440, oak, 31.10 x 13.90 cm © Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, Gemäldegalerie / Jörg P. Anders
Jan van Eyck: Madonna in the Church, ca. 1440, oak, 31.10 x 13.90 cm © Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, Gemäldegalerie / Jörg P. Anders
Hans Multscher: wing of the Wurzach Altarpiece, 1437, canvas over fir wood, 150 x 140 cm © Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, Gemäldegalerie / Jörg P. Anders
Hans Multscher: wing of the Wurzach Altarpiece, 1437, canvas over fir wood, 150 x 140 cm © Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, Gemäldegalerie / Jörg P. Anders

 

Rogier van der Weyden

From the mid-15th century, there was another wave of influence issuing from the Flemish-speaking regions, which can be traced back to the work of the official painter of Brussels, Rogier van der Weyden. Unlike in the first wave around 1430–40, German-speaking artists did not just adopt single aspects, but copied motifs and even entire compositions, transporting them to new contexts. An example of this is provided by the St Columba Altarpiece. This altarpiece must have made an impression on artists far and wide. The figure of the Angel of Annunciation alone, which appears on the far left of the inside of the left wing has been copied and reused in countless variations.