As far fashions and lifestyle elements are concerned, Men's clothing is seen as formal and stiff, women's as fussy and over-done. Clothing covered the entire body, we are told, and even the glimpse of an ankle was scandalous. Critics contend that corsets constricted women's bodies and women's lives. Homes are described as gloomy, dark, cluttered with massive and over-ornate furniture and proliferating bric-a-brac. Myth has it that even piano legs were scandalous, and covered with tiny pantalettes. Of course, much of this is untrue, or a gross exaggeration. Men's formal clothing may have been less colorful than it was in the previous century, but brilliant waistcoats and cummerbunds provided a touch of color, and smoking jackets and dressing gowns were often of rich Oriental brocades. Corsets stressed a woman's sexiness, exaggerating hips and bust by contrast with a tiny waist. Women's ball gowns bared the shoulders and tops of the breasts. The tight-fitting jersey dresses of the 1880s may have covered the body, but they left little to the imagination.
Robert Campin (1375 – 1444), also known as the Master of Flémalle, is considered the first great master of Early Netherlandish painting. Campin did not sign his paintings, therefore none can be securely connected with him. Thus the corpus of work is attached to the unidentified "Master of Flémalle." His early work shows the influence of the International Gothic painters but displays a more realistic observation which he achieved through innovations in the use of oil paints. Campin taught both Rogier van der Weyden and Jacques Daret and was a contemporary of Jan van Eyck.