Robert Campin Biography | Oil Painting Reproductions
1375 Tournai, NED –4-26-1444 Tournai, NEDBack to Artist IndexView Artists Paintings
Robert Campin first appears as settled in Tournai from the archives of 1405–6, as a free master of the guild of painters, and there has been a lot of speculation about his origin and birthplace which is actually unknown. However, in 1410 he bought citizenship, which suggests he was not born there. By 1432, however, he lost his civic positions because of scandals, and probably his role in political disturbances in the city. In 1429 he was found guilty of withholding evidence, and sentenced to go on a pilgrimage, and in 1432 was convicted of adultery and banished for a year.
One of the first to experiment with oil-based colors.
Although heavily indebted to contemporary masters of manuscript illumination, Robert Campin displayed greater powers of realistic observation than any other painter before him. Robert Campin was one of the first artists to experiment with the use of oil-based colors, in lieu of egg-based tempera, to achieve the brilliance of color typical for this period. Campin used the new technique to convey strong, rounded characters by modeling light and shade in compositions of complex perspectives.
Art historians have long been keen to trace the beginnings of the Northern Renaissance - with far less evidence to go on than in Italy. For a long time, it was thought that Jan van Eyck was the first painter to make full use of the innovations apparent in manuscript illumination in panel painting.
By the end of the 19th century, it became clear, however, that Van Eyck was the contemporary of an artist who painted a number of works, including the Mérode Altarpiece. Dated to about 1428, the altarpiece now in the Cloisters of the Metropolitan Museum. It was argued that these works belong to one "Master of Flémalle", whose identity at that time could not be established.
In the 20th century, several scholars suggested that the Master of Flémalle may be none other than Robert Campin, documented as a master painter in Tournai from 1406. The argument turns around a paper mentioning two pupils entering his studio in 1427 - Jacques Daret and Rogelet de la Pasture. The latter was probably Rogier van der Weyden. A very well-documented altarpiece by Daret shows striking similarities with the works of Master of Flémalle, as do early works by Jacques Daret and Rogelet de la Pasture. Therefore it is tempting to assume that both Daret and Rogier were disciples of the Master of Flémalle, i.e. Robert Campin. Another possibility, however, is that the Flémalle panels were painted by Rogier himself when he was still in his twenties.
Art Movement History: Northern Renaissance
Artists Influencing Robert Campin: Jacques Daret, Rogelet de la Pasture