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The Three Marys at the Tomb

The Three Marys at the Tomb

Attributed to: Jan van Eyck (in 1425 - 1435)

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  • Veronika asked

    There is a letter at the back of the painting dated April 1945 from a previous collector. Do you have a transcript of that letter?
    Thank you

  • Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen answered

    Hi Veronika, There has been made a documentary about the painting which you can see on Youtube. In it, our former Curator of Old Masters reads the letter in Dutch, but as the documentary is subtitled in English you will have both versions right away. The reading starts at about 19:04, and this is the link to the video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J5usqn0xSa8
    I hope this is helpful, kind regards, Els

  • Karl Dörler asked

    On your website "The Three Marys at the Tomb" is attributed to Jan van Eyck. On the other hand you write "...the Van Eyck brothers have depicted it on this large panel". So who is the author of the panel according to the actual state of knowledge?
    Thanks for your answer.

  • Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen answered

    Dear Karl,

    The painting is attributed to Jan van Eyck because it's almost certain he has contributed to it, also because it came from his atelier. Unfortunately it's not that certain if anyone else contributed to it. It's definitely possible but debatable whether his brother (or sister) was involved.


  • Nyleen Canizalez asked

    what Two elements and one principle of design does the painting have

  • Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen answered

    Dear Nyleen, see my answer to your first question. Els

  • Nyleen Canizalez asked

    What elements of art does this painting contain

  • Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen answered

    Dear Nyleen, thank you for your question. From this one and the next one it seems that you are educated to discern between art and design, and therefor have been given a set of 'elements' and 'principles' for each. In the museum a painting is per definition 'art'; depending on the age, it is marked OK (oude kunst = old art) and MK (moderne kunst = modern art). The term 'design' is reserved for objects that can be used in daily life. They are marked KN&V (kunstnijverheid & vormgeving = applied art and design). It is interesting, however, that within the last category objects can be hybrid: art and design at the same time. For instance the pieces of fashion by Viktor & Rolf or by Walter van Beirendonck. These pieces meet the 'principle' of design that they can be worn, and at the same time they meet with elements of art, in the sense that they fundamentally research the meaning and effect of shapes and colors. Kind regards, Els

  • Anna asked

    Hello :) thanks for the possibility to ask you some questions:
    1) is it clear that the artist is Jan van Eyck? And if yes, why?
    2) Is there any publication about the details - specially the inscriptions on the robes of the Marys?
    Thank you very much in advance.
    best regards, Anna :)

  • Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen answered

    Dear Anna, thank you for your question. In the Middle Ages artists did not sign their work. Paintings and sculptures were made in a studios, where the main artist (or artists) collaborated with younger artists and pupils. That is why it is never clear immediately and for the full 100% who made the painting. In this case art historians agree that the painting comes from the studio of Jan and Hubert van Eyck in Gent (now Belgium, then the Southern Lower Countries). Jan and Hubert were brothers and their sister seems to have worked in the studio as well. They have various arguments for this attribution, from the painting style and the quality of the work, to the mountainous landscape (Jan van Eyck saw the Alps), to the boards from which the wooden panel is made. Information about details can be found in the book 'Van Eyck in Detail', but I am not sure if there is any information about the patterns (inscriptions?) on the robes. Good luck with your research! Els

  • Jan Blanc asked

    Hello and thank you for your fantastic work on this piece!
    I wanted to know if anyone had worked on the reflections that we see on the breastplate of the central soldier, in which we can quite clearly recognize the blue sky as well as rough shapes that could be the surrounding mountains. This use of the mirror breastplate seems interesting to me, as it is one of the first examples of a motif that was later used extensively by Flemish painters. Thank you for your advice!

  • Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen answered

    Hi Jan, nice to see your enthusiasm! I'd have to refer you to our exhibition catalogue The Road to Van Eyck (2012), there you'll find all the relevant literature about this painting. Unfortunately I saw that the English version of the catalogue is sold out, but maybe you'll be able to find it elsewhere online. There's also a lot of information about the painting in this video on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J5usqn0xSa8 Good luck! Sarie

  • Bert Menco asked

    Misschien een rare vraag, maar toen ik onlangs Boijmans bezocht en weer dit prachtige schilderij zag, viel me de Hebreeuwse tekst op de mantels van 2 Maria's op. Dit hielt me sindsdien bezig. Ik probeerde dit te vinden op de Internet, helaas tevergeefs. Weet u wat deze teksten inhouden? Tevens, is er een afbeelding hoe het hele schilderij er uitgezien zou kunnen hebben. Bij voorbaat dank en met een vriendelijke groet, Bert Menco

  • Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen answered

    Beste Bert, De Hebreeuwse teksten op de mantels zijn pseudo-teksten, het lijkt Hebreeuws maar er staat niet echt iets (dit komt overigens zeer vaak voor rond deze tijd). Er is geen afbeelding van hoe het schilderij er ooit in zijn geheel heeft uitgezien. We hebben eigenlijk te weinig informatie om een goede reconstructie te kunnen maken. Zo is het onduidelijk of het aan weerszijden groter was of maar aan een kant, en als het groter was welke voorstellingen er zouden zijn afgebeeld. Er zijn wel vermoedens maar dat is te weinig voor een echte reconstructie. Met vriendelijke groet, Friso Lammertse, Conservator oude kunst

  • Amy E Abrigo asked

    Hello, do you have an author for the description for "The Three Marys at the Tomb", and do you have a date that this page was last updated? I would like to cite it on a research project.

    Link: http://collectie.boijmans.nl/en/object/3729/The-Three-Marys-at-the-Tomb/Jan-van-Eyck

  • Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen answered

    Dear Amy,
    The text is written by the curatoratorial and educational team Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen. The date that this information was published on the site is march 10th, 2010.
    Kind regards,

  • matthew chea asked

    On the three marys at the tomb painting by Van Eyck there is a white chalk number on the back of the panel. Can you tell me what that chalk number is for?

  • Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen answered

    Hi Matthew, we asked our conservator for you. He told us that this number that you saw on the back of the painting (in the restoration video?), is probably just an old inventory number from one of the former owners. I hope this has been useful! Kind regards, Tanja


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More information

After the burial of Christ, three women go to his grave to anoit the body. When they arrive at the tomb, they see that the stone has been rolled away and an angel tells them that Christ has risen.This moment is described in all four gospels and the Van Eyck brothers have depicted it on this large panel. The soldiers who were standing guard at the grave are still sunk in deep sleep.

Mary Magdalene, in her red dress, is kneeling. She is looking at the angel seated on the stone that had sealed the tomb and at the same time pointing at the empty tomb.The angel is making a gesture of greeting. Who the otther two women are is not hundred percent clear. The Mary in the blue gown could be the mother of Christ, but in the gospel of John she is called Mary Cleophas. The third woman is Mary Salome. A medieval city is shown in the background. It is a reasonably faithful representation of Jerusalem in the 15th century. This large panel is the only work by the Van Eyck brothers in the Netherlands.

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Collection book

Collection book Order


Title The Three Marys at the Tomb
Material and technique Oil on panel
Object type
Painting > Painting > Two-dimensional object > Art object
Location This object is in storage
Dimensions Width 90 cm
Height 71,5 cm
Artists Attributed to: Jan van Eyck
Accession number 2449 (OK)
Credits Acquired with the collection of D.G. Van Beuningen, 1958. The restoration of this painting in 2012 was made possible by Nedspice
Department Old Masters
Acquisition date 1958
Creation date in 1425 - 1435
Collector Collector / D.G. van Beuningen
Internal exhibitions Van Eyck tot Bruegel (1994)
De weg naar Van Eyck / The Road to Van Eyck (2012)
De collectie als tijdmachine (2017)
Lievelingen (2024)
External exhibitions Nederlandsche Kunst van de XVde en XVIde eeuw (1945)
Boijmans bij de Buren - REMIX ROTTERDAM, Boijmans X Wereldmuseum (2020)
Van Eyck. Een optische revolutie (2020)
Research Show research Alma
Geographical origin Southern Netherlands > The Netherlands > Western Europe > Europe

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All about the artist

Jan van Eyck

Maaseik circa 1390/1399 - Brugge 1441

Jan van Eyck worked at various royal courts, and was, for example, court painter to Philip the Good of Burgundy. It is suggested that Jan van Eyck discovered...

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