Jan van Eyck was one of the most important representatives of Flemish painting. His works fascinate by his artistic quality but also by the incredible technical aptitude. Minute details are one of the most striking features of the artist’s paintings.
Jan van Eyck (circa 1395 – 1441)
Portrait of a Man in a Turban (Probable self-portrait) , 1433
Jan van Eyck is often referred to as the inventor of oil painting. It may or may not be true.
It is true that the painter’s use of this technique is undoubtedly fascinating. The oil allowed the artists to reproduce shifters and glitters and, through finer brushes, to pay attention to the smallest details.
Some scholars claim that certain details of van Eyck’s works were performed with the aid of a magnifying glass.
In the following painting, of small dimension (31 x 14 cm) this characteristic is visible.
Virgin in Church
Date:1437 – 1439 (31×14 cm)
Or in this painting
Virgin and child with saints and doner, 1441
The iconography as a study area
The analysis of the Marriage of the Arnolfini.
For him, what might seem like a confusing and disorganized picture, conveyed, in reality, a very clear message: it was the representation of a marriage contract.
Symbolized by the presence of different elements whose hidden symbology pointed to the sacrament of marriage (like the dog, the sandals, the marriage bed, the mirror.
The very own signature of the painter, which states that «… was here», as if the painter had witnessed an event of importance) and the meaning that these elements could assume in the context in which the masterpiece was produced.
Marriage of the Arnolfini, by Jan Van Eyck
The Arnolfini Portrait
An insight into the best known work of Jan van Eyck and some of the present symbology.
To know the work of Jan van Eyck you can visite the website here.
Do you want to learn how to analyze a work of art in formal and symbolic aspects?