Jan van Eyck was a revolutionary painter whose discoveries were felt from the beginning to represent something entirely new. More than any other artist he made painting into the ultimate art. His works were sought by princes and merchants throughout Europe, who prized them for their remarkable qualities of verisimilitude, technical and coloristic virtuosity, and heightened expressive power. It was said he knew fabrics like a weaver, buildings like an architect, and plants like a botanist. Of his 20 extant works, two stand out as so remarkable in their iconography and symbolism that they continue to intrigue scholars to this day: 'The Ghent Altarpiece' and 'The Arnolfini Portrait.’ The 'Ghent Altarpiece' was the young van Eyck's first major public work and the first large-scale oil painting to gain international renown. The 'Arnolfini Portrait' has been a matter of intense inquiry as to its subject matter throughout its history. This docent-led talk will explore these two works, considering the questions that have kept art historians fascinated for the past six centuries.
Image: “Arnolfini Portrait”