2007 Archive Edition - See the Archive Notice on the Project Homepage for more information.
Little is known about the life of Robert Campin (c. 1375/9-1444) before he became known in Tournai as a free master in 1406. He was given a number of public commissions for banners and other ephermeral pieces, and he was active in the local painters' guild, which was also a political force in Tournai. Campin was involved in the guild's attempts to democratize the town, and while he was dean of the guild, the patricians were expelled from power. Because he refused to testify against others in this coup, he was fined and sent on pilgrimage to St-Gilles en Provence. He was later prosecuted for adultery, and this charge seems to have been pursued because of his political activity.
Campin owned a workshop, and his most famous students were Jacques Daret and Rogelet de la Pâtare, better known as Rogier van der Weyden.
Campin's only signed work is a fresco of the Annunciation. Based on this piece and the style of his students, other attributions have been made, and Campin is thought to have been influential in the development of rustic realism in Netherlandish art. His style shows monumental design with a delicacy of detail, and its figures appear to have been influenced by a study of sculpture.
Campin has been identified as the Master of Flémalle because of stylistic analysis. Although this is the majority opinion among scholars of visual art, some believe that the work of the Master of Flémalle is the early work of van der Weyden.
Karen Rae Keck
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