(b Seligenstadt, nr. Frankfurt, c.1430/40; d Bruges, 11 Aug. 1494). Netherlandish painter, active in Bruges from 1465. He was German by birth, but nothing of this background is evident in his paintings, which show close connections with Rogier van der Weyden, by whom—according to plausible tradition—he was taught. His softened and sweetened version of Rogier's style (there is some influence also from Bouts) made him the most popular Netherlandish painter of his day.
Whereas Rogier excelled in the depiction of intense emotion, Memlinc's impeccably crafted paintings are quiet, restrained, pious, and beautifully balanced. Tax records indicate that he was one of Bruges's wealthiest citizens and his large output shows he must have had a busy workshop. His style changed very little and it is difficult to place undated paintings in a chronological scheme. He painted numerous portraits and showed rather more originality in this field than in religious painting. Among his patrons were Italians then living in Bruges (Tommaso Portinari and his wife Maria Portinari, c.1468, Met. Mus., New York), and his portraits seem to have influenced artists such as Giovanni Bellini in northern Italy. Gerard David was among the local artists who continued his tradition. Memlinc's work is in many major collections, but it can be best seen in the museum devoted to him in Bruges.
Text source: The Oxford Dictionary of Art and Artists (Oxford University Press)