Portrait_of_a_Man_in_a_Turban_(Jan_van_Eyck)_with_frameTo celebrate an exciting read, I publish this (likely) last self-portrait by Jan Van Eyck, from about 1433, just before his death. After reading Jan van Eyck: The Play of Realism by Craig Harbison (Reaktion Books Ltd, London, 2012), I offer this art sample, to honor a fine book as well as an artist that I knew nothing about.

I learned what a ground-breaker he was in oil-painting technique, as well as in managing relationships with art patrons, for creating religious works that forever changed the profundity of religious art for its viewers. This occurred before the Reformation further unsettled the hold of religious authority on religious expression, in van Eyck’s native Netherlands as well as all over Europe. I recommend it highly to those who are inspired by the real struggles of real artists to pursue their way–as well as those who enjoy learning about the economic and social relationships that made such a journey possible.

Changing art symbolism for Christianity during that era also gets some fascinating treatment in this scholarly work. For those who love art biography, criticism, or history, you would enjoy this book.

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