Unknown drawing from Van Eyck studio found
One of the greatest discoveries in early drawing
1 October 2012
Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen presents one of the greatest discoveries in early
drawing, announced in the Dutch television programme ‘De Wereld Draait Door’. A six
centuries old drawing from the studio of Van Eyck has surfaced in the Netherlands
and will be on show from 13 October in the exhibition ‘The Road to Van Eyck’.
The drawing was bought forty years ago, at an auction of an estate in the north of the
country. The buyer paid ten guilders for the drawing of the crucifixion of Christ, because he
liked the frame. But it is not the frame but the drawing itself that now appears to be of
considerable value. It is a work dating from the 15th century, and not a nineteenth-century
copy as originally thought. According to experts, the drawing is from the studio of Jan Van
Eyck (Maaseik?. c. 1390-1441) and is one of the greatest discoveries in early drawing ever.
The work will be on show from Saturday 13 October in the exhibition ‘The road to Van Eyck’,
together with more than ninety masterpieces by artists such as Jan van Eyck, Jean Malouel
and Claes de Werve.
Several press previews will be held on Thursday 11 October 2012.You can register via
The crucifixion of Jesus is taking place amidst a mass of people, before a high horizon on
which, in the distance, is the city of Jerusalem. The drawing is staggering in its consistently
refined and highly detailed execution. Based on the painting-like way of drawing, the use of
shapes and the application of a rare technique with gold and silver stylus, which is also used
in other work by Van Eyck, the drawing can with certainty be attributed to the studio of Jan
Friso Lammertse, curator of Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, was preparing the exhibition
‘The road to Van Eyck’ when a professional colleague drew his attention to the drawing.
Where exactly the drawing was at that moment was unknown. But the drawing was
eventually tracked down and in the last few months has been exhaustively examined. The
drawing was presented during the ‘Van Eyck Studies Colloquium’ symposium, held in
Brussels in September. There was a lively debate over its attribution to Jan van Eyck. There
is, however, no doubt that this is an exceptionally important drawing, one of the greatest
discoveries in old art in recent decades.
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