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Jan van Eyck, the founder of early Netherlandish painting, remains unparalleled in his brilliance and precision when it comes to rendering the details of his reality. In the Berlin Picture Gallery, visitors can now immerse themselves in the finest nuances of his masterpieces thanks to an interactive digital projection.


Zoom on van Eyck. Masterpieces in detail


Developed by the Royal Institute for Artistic Heritage (KIK-IRPA) in Brussels, the projection allows viewers to interactively delve into the details of the paintings and compose the image themselves.

In this way, tiny details are presented in impressive wall size in high definition, from the eyes, mouths and hands of the figures to the brushstrokes of the master.


The basis for this projection were extremely high-resolution photos of all 33 surviving paintings by Jan van Eyck and some of his miniatures, which were created by KIK-IRPA between 2014 and 2020 as part of the "Van Eyck Research in Open Access Project" (VERONA).

After the presentation in Brussels aroused great interest, it can now be seen in Germany for the first time.

This gives visitors the unique opportunity to see masterpieces such as the "Ghent Altarpiece" in St. Bavo, the "Madonna of Chancellor Rolin" in the Louvre, the "Arnolfini Wedding" in the National Gallery in London or the famous "Church Madonna" in the Berlin Gemäldegalerie explore in microscopic detail that is barely or not at all visible to the naked eye.


The exhibition in the gallery's foyer also includes an impressive collection of original works by Jan van Eyck and his school.
With three undisputed originals from his hand, including the main work "Church Madonna", as well as two paintings that were created at least in his studio, and four early copies, the picture gallery has a remarkably extensive inventory of van Eyck's works. The combination of these high-resolution projections with the originals enables visitors to experience the fascinating brilliance and detail of his paintings in a completely new way.


Another chapter of the exhibition sheds light on the art-technological investigations and restorations of some of van Eyck's works in the picture gallery.

Since 2015, systematic art-technological investigations have been carried out as part of the creation of a scientific inventory catalog of Dutch and French painting of the 15th century. Restorers, art historians, a technical photographer and a wood biologist worked together in an interdisciplinary manner to carry out these investigations.

Among other things, the restorations affected two main works in the picture gallery: the portrait of Baudouin de Lannoy and the so-called Arnolfini portrait. In addition to conservational measures to secure the layers of the painting, heavily aged coatings and overpaintings were also removed.


Jan van Eyck (around 1399-1441) is considered the most important Flemish artist of the late Middle Ages.
From 1425 he worked at the court of Burgundy for Philip the Good and gained an international reputation as a sought-after artist. Probably his most famous work, the "Ghent Altarpiece", was created between 1432 and 1435 before he set down his own workshop in Bruges. Van Eyck's naturalistic depiction of the visible world ushered in a new art epoch north of the Alps that marked the transition to modern times.

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Additional information
Dates
February 2024
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