Van Eyck in Detail: The Portable Edition
Maximiliaan Martens and Annick Born
This fascinating book looks at the work of Flemish painter Jan van Eyck (c. 1395–1441) under a magnifying glass. Famed for his focused observation of nature, Van Eyck studied fauna and flora in their natural environment and under carefully chosen light conditions, and then achieved a breathtaking and convincing realism in his paintings. Each panel is a collection of minuscule details rendered with superb clarity from foreground to background, or at least that is the impression at first glance. As this book reveals, that is precisely where Van Eyck’s exceptional talent lies: he understood that the human brain is able to supplement visual perception where necessary.
Here, details from Van Eyck’s paintings are organized by such themes as nature, architecture, daily life, fabrics, glass, jewelry and mirrors, and portraits. Opening with a biographical note and an introduction on the technique of oil painting on panel, the authors explain the significance of the individual details and how Van Eyck achieved his innovative artistic results. This is an unprecedented look at the work of a popular master.
Maximiliaan P.J. Martens is Professor of Art History at Ghent University. Annick Born is a researcher at the same university’s Interdisciplinary Centre for Art & Science. Both specialize in 15th- and 16th-century Netherlandish art. Luc Tuymans, who contributed a preface, is a highly regarded contemporary painter with works in major collections around the world. He lives and works in Antwerp, Belgium.