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Jan van Eyck

(1390 – 1441)

Van Eyck’s origins are unknown and obscure. He was the first painter to portray the merchant class and bourgeoisie. Jan van Eyck had a brilliant oil-painting technique – luminous, glowing colours, and minute details – he is thought to be the real inventor of oil painting. Van Eyck was especially fascinated by ears and by folds and creases in cloths. Other things to notice in his paintings – the fall of light, a convincing perspective and rich symbolism. His style was often imitated.

Key artwork: Arnolfini Portrait, 1434

Artworks available on print: