Contributions of Painter Jan Van Eyck Essay

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¶ … Painter Jan Van Eyck

Jan Van Eyck is renowned for his contribution to the development of painting, particularly with regard to his realism and attention to detail, as well as for his precise technique and realism. He is considered by some critics and commentators as '...one of the founders of modern painting techniques" (Coppens). This can be seen in numerous works, including the Ghent Altarpiece. This work in particular is described as bringing a"...unprecedented realism to the themes and figures of late medieval art. (Jan van Eyck: ca. 1380/90-1441)

In terms of art history, Jan van Eyck has also been described as "... The greatest artist of the early Netherlands school" (Jan van Eyck: Active from 1422, died 1441). While littler factual detail is known about his life, what is known is that he was admired and respected as an artist during his life and was a court painter as well as a diplomat in Bruges. (Jan van Eyck: Active from 1422, died 1441).

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It is possibly his technical mastery of the medium of oil painting that is his greatest contribution to the development of art and painting. His use of layers and transparences and his understanding of the oil medium to achieve his realistic effects is a central contribution to the history of painting. As one critic notes; "Van Eyck exploited the qualities of oil as never before, building up layers of transparent glazes, thus giving him a surface on which to capture objects in the minutest detail and allowing for the preservation of his colours" (Jan van Eyck: Active from 1422, died 1441).

Essay on Contributions of Painter Jan Van Eyck Assignment

Van Eyck made use of the slow drying times of oil paints to manipulate the surfaces of works to create his intricate and detailed paintings. This can be seen for instance in the Arnolfini Marriage Portrait, where tinted glazes are used to add depth and character to the work. Critics note that van Eyck perfected the art of using oils on wooden panels. Another technical aspect that is mentioned in the literature is that his use of oils was technically sound and that his paintings are still fresh and vivid today (Applying the Paint and the Technique of Color Modeling).

The Annunciation: source: (http://www.artchive.com/viewer/z.html)

His methods and technical expertise are evident in many of the works. A painting that exhibits some central aspects of his technique and style is the Annunciation (1434/1436). The application of different layers and glazes is clearly evident in tbhe Virgin's blue drapery; "... A first layer in grayish blues establishing light and shade, a second solid blue layer to soften the contrast of the first, and a final, rich blue glaze of ultramarine in a water-based protein medium such as glue"(Gifford, 1999).

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