Jan van Eyck (c. 1390–1441) is known for quality over quantity. Sadly, only about twenty of his works have survived. These are of superb quality thanks to his fine eye, brush technique and use of colour. Van Eyck’s Ghent Altarpiece is one of the highlights of European art history. The great Jan van Eyck changed Western painting forever.
Jan van Eyck, the genius behind the Ghent Altarpiece
Van Eyck’s magnum opus is still present in the Ghent cathedral today, albeit in refreshed form. Years of meticulous restoration work have brought back the Ghent Altarpiece’s original splendour, rich colours and subtle play of light, shadow and depth.
This unsurpassed masterpiece has caused Van Eyck’s name to be inextricably linked with Ghent. However, Jan van Eyck also had close ties to Bruges. This is where he set up his studio and spent the latter portion of his life. A visit to the city’s Groeningemuseum is essential to get to know this Flemish Master. The Royal Museum of Fine Arts in Antwerp (KMSKA) also has two of his masterpieces.