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Roger Van der Weyden having finished Bladelin’s commission, and painted “ bien au vif” that wealthy personage, received another from the abbot of Cambrai, who came on purpose to give it him. Here it is, in the bishop's own words :
“On the 16th of June of the year -55, I, John, abbot, bargained with Master Roger Van der Weyden, the masterworkman in painting at Brussels, to make a picture, five feet square, having eleven stories of such device as the work will show. These were made at various times ; and the said picture was six and a half feet high and five feet large; which picture was finished on the day of Trinity, in the year -59, and cost in principal 80 golden pieces, of 43 sols 4 den. each, money of Cambrai, all of which was paid at divers times. And was likewise paid to his wife and workmen, when the picture was brought, two pieces of gold of 4 livres 20 den.; and it was brought by the carman, Gillot de Gonguelieu du Roquier, in the first week of June, in the year -59, on a cart with three horses.” 1
Here we see the picture, finished at Brussels, taken to. Cambrai by the painter's wife and workmen.
Jean, abbot of Cambrai, was a jovial fellow, and a man of the world, as his own amusing accounts of the visits of Jean de Bourgogne, his bishop, and Philip the Good, will show. Philip the Good and he had drinking matches,
1 Archives de Cambrai, apud De Laborde, ut sup. Les Ducs de Bourgogne, vol. i. Introd. p. 58. Van der Weyden is here called Roger de la Pasture, which is the French translation of his name.
both getting gloriously tipsy, and Philip boasting that he made the abbot roll under the table.
Van der Weyden lived at this time with his wife and family in the Cantersteen' at Brussels. Her name was Goffaert. Their life was pious and exemplary; and we know from Lampsonius that Roger spent a portion of his earnings in charity, and left large legacies to the poor of the town.” His name and his position as a painter there are acknowledged to have been those of the greatest painter of the time. In 1461, he was chosen arbitrator between Pierre Coustain, the painter of the duke, and the treasurers, to fix the amount to which that person was entitled, for having painted and worked two images in stone of St. Philip and St. Isabel, for the palace at Brussels.
It is as yet uncertain whether Van der Weyden went to or stayed any time at Louvain ; but he painted a cele
The account is headed,---"1459. Pour 1 tableau de pointure fait à Bruxelles assis en l'église de chéans.”
1 A. Wauters, Mess. des Sc. et des Arts, 1835, pp. 333–348. Extract from the “Roedt Statüt boek, Arch. of Brux.”
2 Lampsonius, Pict. aliquot celeb., ut sup., p. 100.
3 “A Pierre Coustain, paintre et varlet de chambre de M. D. S., la somme de IIIIxx. livres de XL.gros, monnoie de Flandres, la livre qui deue lui estoit. Assavoir, qui lui a été tauxé et ordonné par maitre Rogier, aussi peintre, en présence de Messire Michault de Changy, chevalier, maistre d'hotel de M. D. S. et de feu le gruyer de Brabant, pour avoir peint et ouvré deux ymaiges de pierre, l'un de la représentation de Ste.Philippe, et l'autre de Ste. Elisabeth, lesquelles M. D.S. a faict mettre et asseoir en son hostel au dit lieu de Bruxelles auprès de la chambre devant la porte par ou l'on va au parc ... VIII-x. liv. Compte de Robert de la Bouvrée.”—De Laborde, ut sup., Les Ducs de Bourgogne, vol. i. p. 479.
brated Descent from the Cross for the church of “Our Lady without the Walls,” there ; a picture to which, at a later period, Mary of Hungary took so great a liking that she obtained it, on condition that she furnished a copy by Coxie. She sent it to Spain ; but it met with a serious accident on the passage. The ship which contained it was threatened by a storm, and the picture and numerous valuables were thrown into the sea to ease her. The latter were irrecoverably lost; but the picture in its case was cast ashore, and saved in perfect preservation.
Van der Weyden died at Brussels on the 16th of June, 1464, and was buried in the nave of the church of Ste. Gudule, where the body of his wife, who survived him many years, was also placed ; a blue stone covering them both. His epitaph was as follows :
“ Exanimis saxo recubas, ROGERE, sub isto,
Qui rerum formas pingere doctus eras;
The following is the amusing mixture of Latin and Flemish, in which the joint resting-place of Roger and his wife is described in the register of burials of Ste. Gudule :
“Magister Rogerus Van der Weyden, excellens pictor, cum
uxore, liggen voor Ste. Câtelynen antaer onder eenen blauwen steen.”
- 1 Van Mander. ? Sweertius, ut sup., p. 284. 3 Ibid.
4 A. Wauters, Registre des sépultures. Messag. des Sc. hist., 1845, p. 145.
Yearly masses for the soul of Van der Weyden were founded by his wife. Part of a pension paid to her by the corporation of Brussels, as the widow of their “portraiteur” (20 gold peeters), she gave in 1477 to her relative Henrich Goffaert, Canon of Coudenberg, to spend in masses for the repose of her own and her husband's souls.
After the death of Roger, the magistrates of Brussels decided that they should have no painter.?
Of his children no trace is left, but of his relatives some notices remain. One Goswyn Van der Weyden was free master of the Guild of St. Luke, at Antwerp, in 1503, and is described in the Liggere or record of that institution as having pupils : in 1504, Peerken Bovelandt and Simon Portugaloys ; in 1507, Aerdt Van Vekene; in 1512, Metken Van Bergen and Frans Dreyselere ; and in 1513, Inghels Inghelsoone. In 1514, he became dean or elder of the Guild, and had as pupil, in 1517, Hennen Simonz. In 1530, he was again appointed elder; and after that time his name no longer appears. This, probably, is the painter who executed eleven pictures in the Brussels Museum, given there to Roger, one of which, the tryptic representing the Circumcision, still bears upon it the words “ Te Brusselle.”3
This picture, according to the testimony of one Canon Heylen, quoted by the compilers of the Antwerp Catalogue,
1 A. Wauters, Cartulaire des Archives de l'abbaye de Coudenberg. Messag. des Sc. hist., 1845, p. 144.
2 A. Wauters, “Het roedt Statüt Boek.” Records of Brussels. Messag. des Sc. hist., 1845, p. 131.
3 This inscription is on the edge of a piece of tapestry.
bore a large inscription, stating that it was painted by commission of the Abbot Streyten, for the church of Tongerloo, in 1535, at which time the artist was seventy years of age. The Antwerp Liggere also contains the name of one Roger Van der Weyden, who was chosen free master of the Guild in 1428."
* Antwerp Catalogue, p. 381.