The anonymous painter known as the Master of Mary of Burgundy was one of the most talented and inventive of South Netherlandish illuminators. Deeply influenced by the leading painters from Ghent, especially Hugo van der Goes, he introduced to the pages of books a new subtlety and richness in the depiction of light and color and an emotional expressiveness rivaled only by the art of Van der Goes. The art of the Ghent-Bruges school originated in his illumination, and his iconographic and formal innovations remained influential for several generations.
A painter and draftsman, the Master worked for illustrious patrons at the court of Burgundy, including the duke and duchess themselves, Charles the Bold and Margaret of York. The Master's name derives from his most celebrated work, a book of hours made around 1480 for Mary of Burgundy, the daughter of the duke. Working in Ghent, which by 1475 was a renowned artistic center, he produced a variety of liturgical and secular books. He collaborated with the most talented artists in the southern Netherlands book trade, including the illuminators Lieven van Lathem and Simon Marmion and Nicolas Spierinc, the scribe of the Hours of Mary of Burgundy.