Jan Van Eyck


About his Life:

Jan Van Eyck was born in Maastrich Netherlands. He then moved to Lille France, where he got his first job to decorate John of Bavaria's castle with his painting. After John of Bavaria died, Eyck's new patron became Duke Philip. The two created a strong relationship, as was seen when Duke Philip gave Van Eyck a spot in his court. Van Eyck was also married and had two kids. Duke Philip became the godfather of Van Eyck's daughter. On top of this, when Eyck passed away in 1441, Duke Philip continued to support his family.

Education/ Training:

There is little known about Eyck's early life and education. However, we do know that he had two older brothers who were painters. This most likely influenced Van Eyck to become a painter and led him to leave a lasting impact on the history of art.


Jan Van Eyck used the Renaissance ideal of naturalism in many of his paintings. Naturalism uses light, texture, tone and oil paints and these are all things that Eyck included in his art. It is even said that he perfected the the oil medium for painting. Eyck also used a lot of classicism. A lot of his artwork included very intricate architecture. Many of his paintings also had a lot of details, which is another example of classicism.

Madonna with Chancellor Nicolas Rolin

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Renaissance Work Description

Van Eyck finished Madonna with Chancellor Nicolas Rolin in 1435 and the painting is now in the Louvre Museum in France. In the painting, Nicolas Rolin is worshiping baby Jesus, who is being held by Madonna. Rolin was one of Duke Philip's chancellor's and Madonna is the Biblical character Mary. Madonna's importance is shown by an angel carrying a crown above her head. In the background there is very detailed architecture and beyond that there is a landscape with a river.

Renaissance Work Analysis

This painting is significant because it uses oil paints. Jan Van Eyck was a major contributor to this new style of painting. Using oil allowed artists to portray light and naturalistic details in their artwork. One ism that this artwork displays is classicism. Eyck put a lot of detail into the arches behind the people in the painting. He also used a lot of symmetry when he painted the tiles. I find the painting interesting because it includes so many small details and everything looks perfect. It must have taken a long time for Van Eyck to finish this painting. I also think the landscape that you see through the arches is pretty. I am curious whether or not the landscape was real or idealized because some websites say it is real and others say it is imaginary.

Works Cited

Eyck, Jan. Ghent Altarpiece. 1426. Oil on canvas. Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York City, New York.

Eyck, Jan. Madonna with Chancellor Nicolas Rolin. 1435. Oil on canvas. Louvre Museum, France

Eyck, Jan. Madonna by the Fountain. 1439. Oil on canvas. Royal Museums of Fine Arts, Belgium

"Jan Van Eyck." Gale Biography in Context. Detroit: Gale, 2010. Biography in Context. Web. 1 Dec. 2015.

Eyck, Jan. Portrait of Cardinal Albergati. 1431. Oil on canvas. Kunsthistorisches Museum of Vienna, Austria

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

Web. 30 Nov. 2015.

"Work The Virgin of Chancellor Rolin." The Virgin of Chancellor Rolin. N.p., n.d. Web. 02 Dec. 2015.