Art: Private View - Rogier van der Weyden National Gallery, London WC2
Saturday 27 March 1999
Sadly there's very little of his work around (probably 20 paintings at the most and the majority of these are too fragile to travel) so the National Gallery has done well to gather five or them together at once, alongside another five or so thought to be the product of his studio. Three of the definite attributions were once part of the same altar piece: the largest fragment being the National Gallery's own Magdalene Reading; reunited here with two little panels, the heads of Saint Catherine and Saint Joseph, from the Gulbenkian in Lisbon.
The genius is in the detail: in the painting of fabrics, floorboards or the view through a mullioned window to the world beyond; all treated with the same unflinching attention. It is a fascinating little exhibition - proof, in this age of the blockbuster show, that you don't need lots of paintings to make a powerful statement.
Rogier van den Weyden, National Gallery, London WC2 (0171-839 3321)
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