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the first great oil painting

April 14, 2011

[NPR]  It’s the size of a barn door, weighs more than an elephant, and is one of the most famous and coveted paintings in the world.

It’s the Ghent Altarpiece — also called Adoration of the Mystic Lamb, after a central panel showing hordes of pilgrims gathered to pay homage to the Lamb of God.

Other panels depict the Annunciation, Adam and Eve, the Virgin Mary, John the Baptist and a crowned Christ in detail so exacting that you can pick out individual hairs in a beard, or dirt on a pilgrim’s foot.

Artist Jan van Eyck completed the Ghent Altarpiece around 1432. Author Noah Charney tells NPR’s Guy Raz that it’s arguably the single most important painting ever made.

“It’s the first great oil painting — it influenced oil painting for centuries to come,” Charney says. “It’s the first great panel painting of the Renaissance, a forerunner to artistic realism. The monumentality of it and the complexity of it fascinated people from the moment it was painted.” (read)

One Comment leave one →
  1. segmation permalink
    May 1, 2011 11:27 pm

    Van Eyck is called the Father of Oil Painting. How come in the Wedding Portrait, they aren’t looking at each other?

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