In its assessment of Jan van Eyck, The Oxford Companion to Art declares that his “technical skill and great inventiveness established his fame throughout Europe as the greatest Netherlandish painter of the 15th century.” In 2020, Jan van Eyck was chosen as Ghent’s theme of the year—“OMG! Van Eyck was here”—and the Museum voor Schone Kunsten exhibition was a big part of the celebration. Over half of the approximately 20 works by Van Eyck were brought to Ghent for the show, including the restored outer panels of The Adoration of the Mystic Lamb (also known as the Ghent Alterpiece, c. 1432). The light, the space, the incomparably precise and infinite detail—vanishing points all but vanishing themselves—here was an artist of vision in every sense of the word. With the closures wrought by the coronavirus, this magnificent show had to close early, and it won’t be reopening. A short film of the exhibition, however, has been produced by the MSK. —L.J.
Van Eyck: An Optical Revolution was featured in the February 1, 2020 issue of Air Mail. Read on