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Looking for Rogier van der Weyden- poised beauty and finding a portrait of a young man

Posted by Suzanne Turrisi on 25 Jan 2019



To find Rogier van der Weyden

On my way back home to Australia last year, after some summer time in Sicily, I spent a few days in London. I was keen to see some of the 15th century Flemish artist Rogier van der Weyden's paintings in London’s National Portrait Gallery.


Detail from 'The Magdalen Reading" by Rogier van der Weyden in the National Portrait Gallery, London


Detail from the 15th century Flemish triptych in Polizzi Generosa (attributed to Rogier van der Weyden)


One reason to see Rogier van der Weyden's art was because the exquisite 15th century Flemish triptych in Polizzi Generosa’s Chiesa Madre is attributed to him.

I did get to see a couple of his beautiful paintings in London's National Portrait Gallery.including, ‘The Magdalen Reading’. I adored the colours, beauty and poise of his Magdalen.

The young women in both the images above share a similar luminous, exquisite beauty.


Portraits by Antonello da Messina:London and Sicily

As I wondered the gallery I came across a small, striking painting by the 15th century Sicilian artist Antonello da Messina- a young man wearing a red hat, titled ‘Portrait of a Man’. He looks directly at the viewer with a steady gaze.

I was pleased to come across it. I have seen one other da Messina portrait of a young man in Cefalu, Sicily. It's titled ‘Portrait of an Unknown Man’.

Antonello da Messina's 'Portrait of a Young Man' London National Gallery


Antonello da Messina"s "Portarit of an Unknown Man' Cefalu, Sicily


The work in The National Portrait Gallery, is not as enigmatic as the ‘smirking’ face da Messina captured in, ‘Portrait of an Unknown Man’ which is housed in the Madralisca Museum in Cefalu, on Sicily’s Tyrrhenian coast. (I have written about this intriguing face in a previous blog).

Both are striking, one a little more perplexing than the other.


Art to discover when travelling Sicily:

When travelling Sicily visit the small Madralisca Museum in Cefalu and see da Messina’s ‘Unknown Man’ with the curious smile. Then continue up through the Madonie Mountains to Polizzi Generosa to view the triptych attributed to Rogier van der Weyden.

And if in Palermo in the last days of January or early February there is an exhibition of 15 of Antonello da Messina's works at Palazzo Abatellis (The Sicilian Regional art Gallery) on via Alloro. It runs until February 10th.




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