In the autumn of 2012, the extremely valuable and fragile works by one of Europe’s most brilliant painters, Jan van Eyck (Maaseik? c.1390 – Bruges 1441), were brought together in 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, alongside other masterpieces by other artists of this period.
In 2008 Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen organised the successful exhibition ‘Early Hollanders. Paintings from the Late Middle Ages’. The successor to this exhibition goes one step further back in history and ends with Jan van Eyck (c.1390-1441). The exhibition is an art-historical voyage of discovery and will present the only images we have of the Low Countries in the early Middle Ages. Practically all the paintings that still exist from this period will be assembled in Rotterdam. This is the first time that all these paintings have been brought together. And because of their fragile condition, it will also most likely be the last time.
The core of the exhibition comprised panel paintings, complemented by a small but high-quality selection of sculptures, metalwork, illuminated manuscripts and drawings. The highlight of the exhibition was a small group of paintings by Van Eyck and artists from his circle, including the restored ‘The Three Marys at the Tomb’.
In the space next to this large exhibition a Medieval Lab was installed, where visitors couldn learn about the technical aspects of medieval painting in an educational presentation. In the Medieval Lab visitors could see how medieval artists prepared their panels, how paint was made, what an artist’s workshop looked like and what decorative and household objects were used as models for the paintings. The Medieval Lab were fitted out as a scientific laboratory, where visitors could explore by themselves. Watch the short videos about the construction of a medieval panel painting also on ARTtube.
A catalogue was prepared for this exhibition. The Road to van Eyck exhibition catalogue presents more than 90 masterpieces of Netherlandish, French and German art from around 1400. The richly illustrated catalogue sheds light on what and who inspired the renowned painter Jan van Eyck (c. 1390 – 1441).
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: 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 and Blockbusterfonds. A campaign has been launched on the initiative of private individuals to support this exhibition. For further information about this ‘Van Eyck Circle’, please visit www.boijmans.nl/dekring.