Jan Van Eyck Alex Kim

The Ghent Altarpiece, started with Jan Van Eyck's brother, Hubert Van Eyck, but Jan Van Eyck finished the masterpiece. This piece is considered one of the world treasures.


Jan Van Eyck was born in 1385 in Maaseik, Bishopric of Liege, Holy Roman Empire. Nobody knows the specific date he was born. He spent most of his time in Netherlands, as being a Netherlands' painter. His education and lifestyle is unknown as his birth date was unknown along with where he lived most of his life. Jan Van Eyck created paintings, mainly oil paintings. Famous example is the work above, the Ghent Altarpiece, or The Crucifixion, Virgin of The Fountain, and etc. His early patron was The Hague. After The Hague passed away, his next patron was Bruges. He later was summoned to serve Philip the Good, a duke of Burguny. This made him one of the rich artists as he had a wealthy payment. Two "isms" that Jan Van Eyck was connected to were Realism and Naturalism. Jan Van Eyck's paintings were all human beings and portraits, painting real things. Naturalism is the art piece that shows oil painting, light, tone, and textures. Eyck used oil paint as the main source of his works and his pieces show different color tones and different shades of light.

EYCK'S WORK - Ghent Altarpiece

The art piece above is called the Ghent Altarpiece, created around 1430 t0 1432. The piece is located in the Saint Bavo Cathedral in Ghent. This piece is one of the world treasures today. What is interesting about this piece is that the art piece was originally being painted by Jan Van Eyck's brother but when he passed away, Eyck finished the painting. Jan Van Eyck was known for his well crafted oil paintings, incorporating into religious pieces and this painting shows his talent. Oil paintings were not common back then and Jan Van Eyck is known for using it often during his lifetime.

This piece shows many things at once. The top of the painting shows 3 notable characters related to religion. The left one is the Virgin Mary, the middle is God, and the left is John the Baptist. The nude people on the left and right are Adam and Eve. The bottom shows groups of people surrounding a lamb, that's where the alternate name of the Ghent Altarpiece, The Adoration of the Mystic Lamb, comes from. This shows the sacrifice made to god. Naturalism is big in this piece. This shows the natural appearance of background and the human beings and the angles. They look real and they all have different shades of light and the texture of people and the trees are different. Also, the Altarpiece was created using Oil.

I find this piece interesting as how glorious the picture is, how many scattered pictures are all connected in ways; such as god with Virgin Mary , the angles, and Adam and Eve. The lamb being sacrificed in the bottom shined the picture of God in the top, right above the mystic lamb and showed me the connection between religion and the works as well.

The picture can be seen in the Chapel in Ghent. Click here to see how you can see the magnificent art piece.


Plagens, Peter. "The lustrous world of Jan van Eyck." Newsweek, 13 Apr. 1998, p. 76. Opposing Viewpoints In Context, go.galegroup.com/ps/i.do?p=GPS&sw=w&u=bedf0311&v=2.1&id=GALE%7CA20473170&it=r&asid=f3fae607e2dfeb13625a7d6e58915187. Accessed 1 Dec. 2016.

Van Eyck, Jan. The Ghent Altarpiece. 1430-1432, Oil painting, Saint Bavo Cathedral, Ghent.

"Lam Gods." Visit Gent. N.p., n.d. Web. 05 Dec. 2016.

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