The Virgin and Child, mid to late 15th century, Oil on wood panel – Jan van Eyck (possibly)
As you know I am working on 6×6 and 5×7 boards. I was looking through my photos that I took when I was at the National Art Gallery of Victoria in Melbourne.
It is interesting to see the fine workmanship on this painting. The detail is incredible. Below is a closer up detail photo. Pay attention to the fact that it is painted on wood panel and the oil, which is 5 centuries old and is only crackling a bit. Painting on a ridged substrate is one of the best ways to ensure longevity with oil. Acrylic hasn’t been around long enough to see how it will stand up over time. It is movement and moisture that does the most damage to a painting.
The inspiration did I drew from this small masterpiece is how the artist made the red fabric look so sumptuous and the gold appliqué in the tapestry was rendered so well. I only hope I can get to be 1/6 as good at painting as this. I had a late start…so time is not on my side. 🙂 Look closely at the pages of the book. Amazing. His understanding of light is so well developed. I can imagine how small his brushes were.
What was really interesting is the text that was with this painting: ” The Early Netherlandish master Jan van Eyck unrivalled skill in oil painting enabled him to achieve a refinement of illusionistic detail never seen before. A number of motifs present in this image are identifiable in the manner of van Eyck (c1395 – 1441), and or many years the painting was attributed to him. However, as most scholars of the past century have acknowledged, there are numerous inconsistencies of execution and compositional planning, which are uncharacteristic of van Eyck…” So after all this time we still can’t be certain who painted this little painting as the information is lost in time.
Here is a bit more information about Jan van Eyck on Wikipedia. It is amazing what they know about Jan van Eyck, not when he was born or where he trained, but other notable happenings in his life. He left the world some truly amazing paintings as his legacy which continue to inspire generations of artists. This little painting was bequeathed to the NAV in 1923. I am curious as to where the painting was between the time it was painted and until it was donated. Don’t you wish that paintings could talk and tell their tales. Well at least I wish for that.
I found another website that must be linked to China because it had the size as much larger than the painting actually is…that is why I put my hand beside the painting to show how small it actually is. But this website also allows you to order your own hand painted version of this 1433 painting though a bit larger than the original one. I decided not to link to the site…best not to encourage this practice.
See you on Monday with a new little painting for my 100 paintings show in June. Thanks so much for dropping by.