In the autumn of 2012, the extremely valuable and fragile works of one of Europe’s most brilliant painters, Jan van Eyck, are coming to Rotterdam.
The Road to Van Eyck
13 October 2012 – 13 January 2013
In the autumn of 2012, the extremely valuable and fragile works of one of Europe’s most brilliant painters, Jan van Eyck (Maaseik? c.1390 – Bruges 1441), are coming to Rotterdam from all over Europe and the United States. Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen is showing the paintings of this artist, long considered the father of oil painting.
Few paintings from the period around 1400 have survived. In the Low Countries the art of this period was especially hard hit by the iconoclastic attacks of the Protestant Reformation. In the autumn of 2012 Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen will host a unique exhibition of the art of what is now the Netherlands, Belgium, northern France and Germany, which formed the inspiration for Jan van Eyck and his contemporaries. The Road to Van Eyck brings to light the artists who inspired Van Eyck to develop his revolutionary and realist style of painting, as exemplified by his masterpiece The Lamb of God from 1432. After Rotterdam the exhibition will travel to the Gemäldegalerie in Berlin.
The period around 1400 witnessed various innovations that were developed further by painters such as Van Eyck. These mostly unknown works of art were the indispensable basis upon which Van Eyck and successive generations of artists elaborated.
Artistic ideas, model books, art works and artists travelled throughout Europe in the fifteenth century. The courts that were often responsible for the most prestigious commissions maintained regular contact with each other and the large centres for international trade, such as Paris, Amsterdam and Rome, ensured an exchange of products and ideas. For this reason it is often impossible to determine whether a specific work was made in northern Italy, the Low Countries, France or Germany. The art of the period from around 1390 to 1430 is often referred to as International Gothic.
The core of the exhibition is formed by paintings on panel – canvas was not yet commonly in use – and drawings also have a central place. In addition, miniatures, sculptures and silver objects will provide a broad picture of the art of this period. The paintings of Jan van Eyck and works by artists from his circle make up the final part of the exhibition. These include a hotly debated group of paintings that some believe to be early works by Jan van Eyck, or perhaps by his elder brother Hubert, but which others attribute to Jan’s later production or that of his workshop.
The exhibition will be accompanied by a richly illustrated catalogue.