Jan van Eyck

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Jan van Eyck

From Juan Carlos Martinez

Published before 2005


Tim,

I think you're right and I'll add a bit to what you say. Van Eyck was still rather a "primitive" when it came to drawing things they way they really appear. That was not as big a concern in the Middle Ages as it later became. In those days, drawing was more iconographic and he was just coming out of that era. What he had figured out, though, was how to render surfaces. So, metal looked like metal, cloth like cloth, wood like wood, etc.. Indeed, that must have been very cool back then. Plus, the re-discovery and further enhancement of mechanical perspective by Bruneleschi had occurred by van Eyck's time, too. So it was probably exciting for artists to now be able to work out believably good perspective on regular objects such as chandeliers and tables. Different story making people look like people, though. That didn't happen until a little while later although van Eyck did do it fairly well in his more intimate, cameo portraits.

Juan