[en] Early Netherlandish Painting ; Diptych ; Donor Portrait ; Hans Memling ; Rogier van der Weyden
[en] Dedicated to the diffusion of the devotional portrait diptych in the Low Countries, this article demonstrates that this genre of paintings was not as popular as often stated, but was instead a particular type of painting which was circulated in very specific ways and contexts. The dukes of Burgundy - especially Philip the Good - made devotional portrait diptychs popular in the first half of the 15th century, before being imitated by several noble men, who commissioned such works of art for Rogier van der Weyden between 1450 and 1460. While we do not know any diptych from the years 1460-1480, the two next decades mark the peak of production of such diptychs, most of them being produced by or for the citizens of Bruges; the probable presence of the "Diptych of Jean Gros" in this town surely explains this revival. During the first decades of the 16th century, Margaret of Austria promoted this genre once more, and several members of her circle followed her example by commissioning such diptychs. The scheme of diffusion of devotional portrait diptychs in the Low Countries attests to their capacity to express the social ambition and prestige of the person portrayed, as well as their devotional function.