The Road to Van Eyck

Jan van Eyck, The Annunciation, ca. 1435, oil on canvas transferred from panel, 90,2 x 34,1 cm, Washington, National Gallery of Art

Press release

The Road to Van Eyck
13 October 2012 - 10 February 2013

From 13 October 2012 Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen presents the exhibition ‘The Road to Van Eyck’ with more than ninety masterpieces by Dutch, Flemish, French and German artists around 1400. Extremely valuable and fragile paintings, sculptures and drawings by Europe’s most important artists of the period, including Jan van Eyck, Jean Malouel and the Master of Saint Veronica, are coming to Rotterdam from collections in the United States and Europe.
Because of the fragility of the works, this is the first and probably the last time that an exhibition on this subject will be held. ‘The Road to Van Eyck’ reveals who inspired Jan van Eyck to create his revolutionary, realistic style.

Very few paintings from the period around 1400 have survived. Art from the Low Countries from this period is especially scarce due to the iconoclastic attacks of the Reformation. ‘The Road to Van Eyck’ provides an overview of painting from 1390 to 1430 in the Netherlands, Flanders, Burgundy, Paris and parts of modern Germany. The exhibition brings together more than ninety works including seven by Van Eyck (Maaseik ?, ca. 1390 - Brugge 1441). Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen is the only museum in the Netherlands with a work by ‘Van Eyck’ in its collection.

The core of the exhibition is made up of panel paintings. The remainder of the exhibition comprises a small but world-class selection of sculptures, decorative works in gold and silver, illuminated manuscripts and drawings. The exhibits include small sculptures by Jacques de Baerze and Claus de Werve from the tomb of Philip the Bold, Duke of Burgundy, and an important selection of works by Van Eyck such as ‘Saint Barbara’ from Antwerp, the ‘Annunciation’ from Washington and the restored ‘The Three Marys at the Tomb’ from the collector of Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen. Several important works, including Malouel’s ‘Madonna and Child with Angels’ are being lent by the Gemäldegalerie in Berlin, partner in this project. The famous Norfolk Triptych from the museum’s own collection, a key work from the pre-Van Eyck period, will also be displayed.

International exchange
The art of the period from around 1390 to 1430 is therefore referred to as ‘International Gothic’. Princes and other local rulers responsible for the most prestigious commissions were in constant contact with each other. The large centres of international trade, such as Paris, Amsterdam and Cologne, also contributed to the exchange of ideas and objects. Artistic ideas, model books, art works and artists travelled extensively throughout Europe. For this reason, it is often impossible to determine whether a work was made in the Low Countries, France or Germany.

The exhibition will be accompanied by a richly illustrated catalogue, edited by the exhibition’s curators: Friso Lammertse, curator at Museum Boijmans, and Stefan Kemperdick, curator at the Gemäldegalerie in Berlin.

Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen would like to thank the following foundations, companies and private individuals, whose enthusiastic and generous support has made ‘The Road to Van Eyck’ exhibition possible: the Turing Foundation, Robeco, BankGiro Loterij, Cultural Heritage Agency of the Netherlands, SNS REAAL Fonds, VSBfonds, Prins Bernhard Cultuurfonds (thanks, in part, to the Breeman Talle Fonds), Aon Artscope, Unilever, Nedspice, Ploum Lodder Princen, Shell, Blockbusterfonds and Thalys. A campaign has been launched on the initiative of private individuals to support this exhibition, to which you are also welcome to contribute. For further information about the ‘Van Eyck Circle’, please visit