Jan van Eyck: The Ghent Altarpiece or Adoration of the Mystic Lamb

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God the Father and Jesus.

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Open view of the polyptych

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Closed view, back panels.
Closer to Van Eyck: Rediscovering the Ghent Altarpiece. Royal Institute for Cultural Heritage (Belgium).  High resolution macrophotography, infrared reflectography and X-radiography of the Ghent Altarpiece.

As the defining monument of the "new realism" of Northern Renaissance art, the Ghent Altarpiece was regarded as both the foundation of a distinguished tradition, and an exemplary achievement to challenge all later artists. In 1495, an early visitor named Hieronymus Münzer justly described it as encompassing the whole art of painting. 

The discovery in 1823 of a rhymed quatrain on the frame of the altarpiece confirmed that it was begun by Hubert van Eyck, and even described him as greater than his more famous brother Jan, who completed the work upon Hubert's death in 1426. No one has ever convincingly distinguished their respective shares in this painting. Dedicated on May 6, 1432 in the Church of Saint John, Ghent (now the Cathedral of Saint Bavo), the work was installed above an altar in a chantry chapel founded by the wealthy patrician Joos Vijd and his wife Elizabeth Borluut.


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