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Leading Figures

The 15th century saw Bruges become the capital of the Flemish arts, housing an important new school of art.

Other schools arose quickly in Tournai, Ghent and Louvain making the Netherlands region a virtual production house of painting. Great names in this period included the work of Robert Campin, Rogier van der Weyden, Dierick Bouts, Petrus Christus, Hugo ven der Goes, Hans Memling, and Gerard David. But by far the most prominent of these artists was one of the first, Jan Van Eyck.

Religious elements

Religious paintings, ie those used for church decoration and altarpieces, remained the most popular type of work. The Renaissance Humanism that dominated paintings in Italy, played second place to local Flemish trends such as Devotio Moderna, a mix of Humanism and Christianity. These often placed an emphasis on emphatic subject matter such as the suffering of Christ. An example of this is the eccentric painter Hieronymous Bosch who created strange religious visions*. His most famous work is that of Triptych of Garden of Earthly Delights:

Triptych Garden of Earthly Delights c. 1500 Gallery of Art Museo del Prado, Madrid

Medieval heritage

The medieval heritage of the Netherlands region remains strong in Early Netherlandish works. A prominent example of this is The Ghent Altarpiece: The Adoration of the Lamb.

The Adoration of the Lamb found at Saint Bravo’s Cathedral in Belgium is considered the most principle work of this era. The altarpiece was begun by Hubrecht van Eyck and completed by his brother Jan van Eyck.


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