Discuss on Ghent Altarpiece, – Homework Educator


The painting “Ghent Altarpiece,” by Jan van Eyck, was the most oil painting of the Early Northen Renaissance which is placed in St. Bavo’s Cathedral, Ghent. According to the Metropolitan Museum of Arts, in 1823, there was a revelation about the frame of the altarpiece had the name of Hubert van Eyck, Jan van Eyck’s brother, which was inscribed him as a starter for this altarpiece. However, there has been no showing of an original evidence for their corresponding shares in this painting. The “Ghent Altarpiece” is using a viscous medium which will allow the oil paint to easily change the details while it is still wet. Besides, he was using the technique called glazes to apply a very thin layer each time on the oil paint and made it more translucent. This technique was invented by Giorgio Vasari which Jan van Eyck was an honor to get attribute for it.

The “Ghent Altarpiece” consists of 24 panels in which twelve opening panels and twelve closing panels. The whole altarpiece was a story about Christian and the mystery of the Lamb in the book of Revelation of St.John. The exterior of closing panels portrays the story is called Annunciation With Donors. As we can see, the closed altarpiece consisted of three row. There are prophets and sibyls with scrolls and books that are attending the heralding of the Annunciation from above. Right below them are Archangel Gabriel on the left panel is announcing to Mary, on the right panel, that she is about to conceive Christ. The Archangel Gabriel is holding lilies which are the symbol of Mary’s purity and her virginity. Moreover, there is a dove above Mary’s head which symbolizes the Holy Spirit. The words coming out from Mary’s mouth are backward and upside down and it seems like she is answering to God above her. The bottom row is an interesting visual which depicts the patron Jocodus Vijd with his wife Isabella Borluut on the outside of the polyptych’s shutters who are painted in red to depict them as living, and there are SS. John the Baptist and John Evangelist were painted to look like two sculptures in the middle carved of stone. Jan van Eyck not only had the magnificent technique of using oil painting but he also focused on the details of objects such as the buildings, the birds, that were depicted are astonishingly solid as the light reflect on them.

 

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