Rogier van der Weyden was one of the great medieval Flemish artists and one of the most renowned artists of the fifteenth century. Much of his output consisted of religious works and portraits.
The main distinguishing feature of his art is a sense of passion and emotion. Earlier medieval work can often come across as flat to the modern eye, but Van der Weyden's paintings have an emotional charge even in the more standard sitting portraits. For example, "Portrait of a Lady" does more than present the mere appearance of the sitter: her eyes and mouth exude a quiet confidence unique to her.
Another distinct feature of Van der Weyden's paintings is his expressive use of color. He uses bright, bold colors, which again lend a sense of passion and drama to his work. "The Crucifixion Triptych" is a great example; it uses color to heighten the emotion of the scene. The angels on either side of Christ are all in black, representing death, while the mourners gathered at the foot of the cross are mostly in blue and red, colors linked to both the Virgin Mary (blue) and the passion of Christ (red). While the crucifixion has been a common theme in Christian art throughout the centuries, Van der Weyden makes it all his own through these techniques.