The Virgin of Chancellor Rolin (1434-1435)

Van Eyck, Jan (c.1390-1441)

The Virgin of Chancellor Rolin
Oil on panel, 66 x 62 cm
Musée du LouvreParis

Painted for Nicolas Rolin (around 1376/80-1462), chancellor of the Duke of Burgundy Philippe the Good, to adorn the personal chapel (Saint-Sébastien chapel) that he decided to build in 14261428 (completed in 1430) in the the Notre-Dame-du-Châtel church in Autun which was destroyed in 1793, a church directly linked to his family (Rolin obtained authorization from the Pope in 1434 to have mass celebrated for him – in this chapel therefore – before the sunrise, a papal privilege which allows us to deduce the very probable date of the painting (cf. Lorentz, 1992); therefore, not reported in the inventories of the Rolin estate but duly cited in 1705 and 1748 in the sacristy (former chapel of Saint-Sébastien) of the said church and this, as the work of John of Bruges (usual name of Van Eyck at the time) representing – crucial precision – the Virgin and Child and Chancellor Rolin (was this then marked on the frame of the painting, a frame that disappeared during the Revolution?); still cited in the said sacristy or “small sacristy” of this church in 1762 then in 1778; seized during the Revolution and deposited at the Central School of Autun; selected on site (with a painting by Fra Bartolomeo, also transferred to the Louvre, INV 97), by Alexandre Lenoir, the envoy of the Minister of the Interior, for the Central Museum of Arts (Louvre), and handed over to this last, 1800 (like John of Bruges, but without mention of Chancellor Rolin whose identity is apparently already forgotten at this date). (Louvre)

See also:

Rolin, Nicolas (1376-1462)