This autumn of 2013 the Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium is staging an exhibition devoted to painting in Brussels in the period between the death of Rogier van der Weyden (1464) and the activity of Bernard van Orley (1515-1541).
At that moment Brussels was a thriving town. The Coudenberg Palace being the favourite residence of the dukes of Burgundy. It was surrounded by the palaces of courtiers and noble families like the Nassau or the Ravenstein. They were all important patrons of the arts.
It is difficult to identify the painters of this period. Among the painters active in Brussels at that moment, Colyn de Coter is the only one of whose signed work has come down to us.
Through a document we know that Aert van den Bossche painted a triptych for the Saint Nicolas church. Pieter van der Weyden, who inherited the famous workshop of his father Rogier, is mentioned in several documents, but no painting can be attributed with certainty to him. On the other hand, there are unsigned and undocumented paintings that show a strong influence of Rogier van der Weyden, or others with the inscription "te Bruesele" - made in Brussels - and some that prominently depict Brussels monuments, like the Saint Gudula Cathedral. These are attributed to masters with a provisional name: the Master of the View of Saint Gudula, the Master of the Princely Portraits, the Master of the Life of Joseph (also called the Master of Affligem), the Master of Orsoy, the Master of the Saint Barbara Legend, the Master of the Saint Catherine Legend, the Master of the Redemption of the Prado (the presumed Vrancke van der Stockt) and the Master of the Embroidered Foliage. These painters haven't been highly estimated in art history, like their contemporaries in Bruges, they have been designated with the term "minor masters".
Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium