Van Eyck, The Ghent Altarpiece, early 15thC
One of Northern Europe’s most revered treasures, the Ghent Altarpiece. A combined effort by the van Eyck brothers, designed by Hubert and painted mostly by Jan.
The scale is really quite something. I remember standing before it in the church of St Bavo in Ghent, feeling very small… it was squeezed into a small space, and was an awesome object, one which must be studied as closely as possible, so as to appreciate the exquisite detailing by Jan’s hand. Oh, the realism. Refined, elegant and full of emotive expression.
From Dutch and Flemish Painters, by Carel van Mander
The painting, marvellous for its time, is excellent in regard to drawing, action of figures, conception of the subject, and precision of workmanship. The draperies are well displayed in the style of Albrecht Durer; the blue, red, and purple colours in these have not changed at all and are so fresh that they look as if they had been laid on just recently. These colours surpass in beauty those of any other painting.
Obviously loved and revered by the Northerners. And rightly so.
…I must confess, the angels never cease to amuse me. They resemble what in fact we all must look like when trying to sing in a serious mode!