“The Portrait of Giovanni Arnolfini and His Wife Giovanna Cenami” by Jan van Eyck is one of Western art’s most complex and original paintings. Van Eyck’s detailing and use of light to convey interior space were far ahead of their time. Through expertly applied oil paint in layered, translucent glazes, he breathtakingly conveyed realism, three-dimensionality and the couple’s wealth. Van Eyck (1390 – 1441) may have used a magnifying glass to paint tiny details such as the highlights on the beads hanging by the mirror. This exceptional work is now displayed in London’s National Gallery.
Jan van Eyck (1390 – 1441) was such an exceptional artist, he was once credited as the inventor of oil painting. Although van Eyck did not invent oils, he pioneered their use to express rich colors and minute details. His painstakingly realistic pieces abounded in texture, atmospheric light and dimension. Van Eyck served as the court artist for royalty, and was commissioned by wealthy Italian residents of the Netherlands. Van Eyck’s masterful works hang in many prestigious museums, including the Louvre, London’s National Gallery and Washington, D.C.’s National Gallery of Art.
- Lackluster Colors
- Not as Expected