In the accounts of Philip the Bold, first Duke of Burgundy, the name Broederlam referred to as a Valet (1387), and "artist of Monsignor" (1391). He worked in the castle Esden and performed many works commissioned by the Duke. In 1394 - 1399, he paints the outer side shutters of the carved altarpiece, the work of sculptor Jacques de Barza, intended for the monastery of Anmol in Dijon, the only surviving work of the artist.
He was born in the town of Ypres, which at that time was part of Burgundy, a very powerful feudal state. The Duchy of Burgundy in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries was able to compete even with the mighty France. Culturally it was under strong French influence. Occupying the land East of France and the Netherlands, Burgundy has become a kind of center for visual arts, where the focus of the best artistic forces of the time. Among the many architects, sculptors and artists Broederlam was in the service of the Burgundian Duke Philip the Bold. Unfortunately, Brederlo very little is known.
He belongs to that galaxy of late medieval masters who, subject to the anonymity of all medieval art, was not signed or dated his paintings. These artists seek out nowadays in contemporary Chronicles and annals, in sales documents and contracts. But even this kind of information Broderline almost not available. We only know that in 1384-1385 he was court sculptor to the Duke that he was working in Ypres (between 1381 and 1409), in Paris (1390 and 1395) and Dijon, the capital of the Duchy (1389, 1399). He died, apparently, in Ypres. Of his authentic works have survived only one — fold altar, now stored in the Dijon Museum. The origin of the valves is as follows. On the outskirts of Dijon, on the orders of the Duke of was built the Carthusian monastery of Anmol for the design which has attracted many artists, including the famous Burgundian sculptor Claus Sluter. Among the guests was Broederlam . For the monastery he painted two altar decorated with carvings of James de Berze (scenes of "the Crucifixion", "the adoration of the Magi" and "the Ascension"). Wood carving was located in the center and the side of the altar were painted in the traditional technique of tempera (1392-1399).
Although Dijon sash is designed as part of altars, they are quite independent easel works. This is one of the first cases of the appearance of West European art of the real "picture". Regardless of what Broederlam in General adheres to the traditional iconography, here you can see a lot of innovations. First of all depicted events do not occur in a neutral environment, not on a gold background, as it was in the middle ages, and surrounded by architecture or landscape. However, the conventional image of the landscape was Dating at the time in miniature painting is the most liberated field of fine arts. But in the altar compositions, where the tradition was very conservative, the appearance of these images can be equated to genuine innovation. Of course, this does not merit one Broederlam . The Italian artists of that era he first saw the world in all its beauty and pristine, made him the subject of the image. The impact they had on the entire European painting is enormous. But what was needed was fertile ground for the perception of this influence. Broederlam was prepared to learn from the achievements of the Italian masters.
Dijon fold depict the Annunciation, the meeting of Mary with Elizabeth, the flight into Egypt and the presentation. The scene is written according to the traditional scheme of the middle ages, when multi-temporal images are merged into one spatial composition. In the paintings of Broederlam dominates the Convention. Architectural structure, is meant to depict the Jerusalem temple and house of Mary are, in fact, a simple Gothic interior. However, Broederlam acts here in accordance with the custom to transfer the action of religious songs in modern painters of reality, in order to enhance the produce on the spectator an impression. The interior is built according to the rules of "reverse perspective", which, as it draws the viewer into the inner space, forcing him to be a part of the ongoing event. Conditionality is manifested in the landscape. Realistically drawn trees and mountains do not correspond to each other in scale. From the point of view of realistic vision, which is absurd. Everything here is subordinated to the spiritual scale. Another innovative feature of the works of Broederlam was the color scheme of his paintings. Such depth and color intensity not reached before him, no painter. From this point of view of the artist can be considered a harbinger of prosperity oil painting early XV century.
Broederlam often referred to as one of the first masters of easel painting in European art. Although there are no surviving pure easel works of the master, this point of view is quite fair. His work laid all the traits that later will find the full development of the great Dutch painters of XV century. Therefore, we believe Broederlam the forerunner of art in modern times.