Jan van Eyck

Leanne Hallenbeck

Biological Information

  • Born around 1390 in Maastricht, Netherlands
  • He had two brothers, Hubert and Lambert, who were both painters also
  • Married to Margaretha van Eyck
  • Jan was also known for being very intelligent and diplomatic at court
  • Jan had a very close relationship with the Duke who visited his workshop, was his daughter's godfather and who gave money to his wife after his death
  • Jan was the apprentice to John of Bavaria
  • He was the valet for Duke Philip of Burgundy for 16 years
  • Jan established a workshop in Bruges in 1430
  • Jan was a painter
  • The first known work of Jan van Eyck was the Ghent Altarpiece which he finished for his brother in 1432
  • He was known for rediscovering (from ancient times) and perfecting the art of painting with oils
  • Some of his works include: Annunciation, (1436) Lucca Madonna, (1436) Portrait of a Man, (1433) and the Ghent Altarpiece (1432)


  • John of Bavaria
  • Duke of Burgundy


  • Humanism: Jan studied the ancient technique of using the oil medium and went back to the classical, ancient ways of painting
  • Scientific Naturalism: Jan's works pay attention to minute details and they are very precise and include perspective and geometry

Jan van Eyck died July 9, 1441


"Jan van Eyck." International Dictionary of Art and Artists. Gale, 1990. Biography in Context. Web. 11 Nov. 2013.

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Court Society in Front of a Burgundian Castle by Jan van Eyck

  • This is a painting of about thirty people in front of a castle with others in the background. The painting is in light colors and most of the people are wearing long, white flowing gowns, showing their wealth.
  • This piece was created around 1434.
  • Today this painting is in the Museum of Dijon in Bourgogne, France.
  • This piece is important because it used the technique of oil painting on wood which Jan van Eyck rediscovered from ancient times.
  • This piece is related to individualism because each person has their own expression and their own way of standing.
  • I find this piece interesting because it shows the social classes that were still evident in society at the time. The wealthy people who are wearing expensive clothing are in the foreground and the people in the background are below them.
  • Here is a link to the work: