Van Eyck was the great master of the Northern Renaissance. Trained as a manuscript illuminator and goldsmith, his works are jewels of observed detail in man's world. Here the Virgin receives the annunciation in a Flemish Gothic church. Depth is not constructed mathematically with one-point perspective. It is an observed perspective. Northern artists such as van Eyck delighted in realistic depiction of worldly objects that acted as symbols for sacred mysteries, such as the lilies in the foreground, a symbol of the Virgin's purity. The elaborate robe of the angel, complete with applied jewels, reflects van Eyck's training as a goldsmith.
Artform: PAINTING AND DRAWING, Pre-20th Century
Artist: Eyck, Jan van
Artist Dates: c1390-1441
Period: 15th century
Medium: oil on canvas transferred from wood
Size: 90.2 x 34.1 cm
Subject: New Testament, Virgin Mary
Style: Northern Renaissance
Museum: National Gallery of Art, Washington
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