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Hand-Painted Pendant of Van der Weyden's Portrait of a Lady


Product Description

I have always adored Flemish Art, especially the painter Van der Weyden.  I ordered a few copies of this amazing Portrait of a Lady (or Portrait of a Woman) on a small oil-on-oak panel painting executed around 1460 by the Dutch painter Rogier van der Weyden. It is the only known portrait of a woman accepted as an autograph work by van der Weyden, yet the sitter's name is not recorded and he did not title the work. The pendant is wire-wrapped on multi toned moonstone rondels with a 14K corrugated rondel.  18-1/2"  Pendant: 2"

Her name is lost to us, but she was likely at the court of Philip the Good, Duke of Burgundy. The court was the mid-15th century’s most magnificent and established tastes for virtuosity and refinement across Europe. The gold filigree decorating her belt, the folds creasing her transparent veil, her delicate lashes, all seem very real. Yet we sense that this woman is at some remove from the world and from us. Her down-turned eyes and nervously pressed fingers suggest introspective emotion. Triangular forms abstract and flatten her image, giving it a formal elegance that underscores her aristocratic reserve. 

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.


 Rogier van der Weyden, celebrated by contemporaries for the invention and intensity of his religious paintings, produced a number of portraits at the Burgundian court at the end of his career, from about 1450 until his death in 1464, apparently including this one. Their spare formalism and mannered aspect were well matched to an aristocratic ideal of control, which was itself no less an expression of power than the lavish displays of luxury textiles, gold, and gems for which the dukes of Burgundy were known.  


More information on this painting can be found in the Gallery publication Early Netherlandish Painting, which is available as a free PDF https://www.nga.gov/content/dam/ngaweb/research/publications/pdfs/early-netherlandish-painting.pdf








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