Portrait of Philip the Good after a prototype by Rogier van der Weyden, employed by Philip in the 1430s. Philip (1396-1467), third Duke of Burgundy (1419-67), great-grandson of John II, King of France, was the son of John the Fearless (1371-1419) and Margaret of Bavaria (1363-1423) and grandson of the founder of the Burgundian ducal dynasty, Philip the Bold (1342-1404). He took the title following his father’s assassination by the French and became the most significant of the four Valois dukes of Burgundy. Under Philip, the ducal territory was greatly extended: by c1450, in addition to the Duchy and County of Burgundy in present-day eastern France, it also encompassed the Burgundian Netherlands. Philip was married successively to Michele de France (d. 1422), Bonne d’Artois (d 1425) and Isabel of Portugal (d 1471). The latter bore his only legitimate son and successor, Charles the Bold, after whose death, in 1477, Burgundy was absorbed by France.
this is a fair version of a portrait that was produced in some numbers, based on the first of three portrait types of the duke that Rogier van der Weyden is believed to have created (Philip is bareheaded in the other two versions). It shows Philip turned to his left with his head almost in three-quarter profile, wearing a black chaperon and the gilded collar of the Golden Fleece. The collar, finely painted in the Society’s version, is composed of pairs of ornamental fire-irons, joined at the front by a representation of a firestone in the form of a nugget of flint from which is suspended the miniature gilded fleece. Above the collar on Philip’s chest is a plain gilded cross. Over a black doublet, he wears a fur-lined cloak, also black, without the double lace at the neck present in most other versions. Beneath this is a linen undershirt. Contemporary representations of Philip in illuminated manuscripts, as well as written descriptions, confirm that this image of him, with its lean face, pointed chin, long nose and prominent eyebrows, is a faithful account of his appearance.