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Follower of Rogier van der Weyden, c. 1513, ‘Portrait of Jean de Bourgogne, Bishop of Cambrai’, oil on oak panel, 14 x 8¾ in. (35.5 x 22.3 cm). Estimate $50,000 – $70,000. Photo Christie’s Image Ltd 2015

Provenance: Anonymous sale; Sotheby’s, New York, 24 January 2002, lot 138, as Burgundian School, circa 1470.

Notes: John of Burgundy (c. 1418-80) was the illegitimate son of John the Fearless (Dijon 1371-1419) by Agnès de Croÿ. His mother’s nephew, Philippe de Croÿ, was one of Rogier van der Weyden’s patrons (see his Portrait Diptych in the Koninklijk Museum voor Schone Kunsten, Antwerp). John studied with Antoine Haneron at Leuven, and in 1437 became Provost of Saint-Pierre at Lille. He was consecrated at Hesdin in May 1440 by Jean Chevrot, and made his entry into Cambrai on 10 July 1442, although he left a month later, never to return, preferring to live in Brussels and Mechlin. The identity of the sitter is confirmed by a drawing in the ‘Recueil d’Arras’ (fol. 96; see fig. 1) of nearly the same likeness, with minor differences. The coat of arms bearing the fleur de lys and bars references the court of Burgundy, and the dividing line signals John’s illegitimate status. The three blue lions and gold field reference Cambrai and the Cambrésis. We are grateful to Dr. Lorne Campbell his assistance with cataloguing this painting, and for suggesting that the panel probably originally formed the left wing of a half-length diptych, and that it is likely based on a lost original by Rogier of c. 1460. Dendrochronological analysis of the oak panel by Professor Peter Klein of Hamburg University has revealed that the earliest date of the painting could be 1503. However it is more probable that the panel was used after 1513 (written communication, 5 November 2014).

Ms 266 fol.96 John of Burgundy, bishop of Cambrai, from 'The Recueil d'Arras' (red chalk on paper) (b/w photo)

Fig. 1. John of Burgundy, Bishop of Cambrai, from ‘the Recueil d’Arras’ / Biblothèque Municipale, Arras, France / Bridgeman Images

Christie’s. OLD MASTER PAINTINGS & SCULPTURE PART II, 29 January 2015, New York, Rockefeller Plaza