Dutch painting

"Annunciation", Jan van Eyck

  • Author: Jan van Eyck
  • Museum: National Gallery of Art (Washington)
  • Year: 1434-1436
  • Click image for larger version

Description of the picture:

The Annunciation - Jan van Eyck. 1434-1436. Panel, oil. 93 x 37 cm

The painting "The Annunciation" was created in the heyday of creativity of the Dutch painter Jan van Eyck. At this time, the author bought a house and workshop in Bruges to stay there until the end of his days.
The story of the picture is the following - the painter was preparing a gift to the duke of Burgundy, Karl Smely, one of the most heroic representatives of the famous Valois dynasty. The gift was a big triptych on a religious story. Unfortunately, until today, only one fragment of a rather large-scale work has survived - the left casement.
It is not known under what circumstances 2/3 triptych was lost. We only know that Van Eyck sent his gift to Dijon, the capital of Burgundy at that time, at the Shanmol monastery, where church masses were served.
The Annunciation, as an event, is a key moment in the history of Christianity. A change of covenant followed the Annunciation: the precepts of Moses alternated into the era of “After Grace” (Sub Gratia). Due to the importance of the event, this story was very often repeated by artists of the Renaissance.
Option Van Eyck different lyricism and attentive to details. The viewer sees the Virgin Mary and the Archangel Gabriel, but here they are not depicted as real personalities. Comparing the size of the figures and the architecture of the background, you can see that the Virgin Mary and Gabriel are depicted as giants - their heads almost reach the capitals. The columns behind the actors are noticeably rounded, so that we can assume - van Eyck depicted the altar. Perhaps the lost part of the triptych depicted a priest, and the giant figures of Mary and Gabriel are a figment of his imagination, a kind of vision.
In technical terms, striking detailed drawing of all elements. The brilliance of stained glass, stucco on the column, the decoration of the characters, the variety and simultaneous harmony and richness of colors (just look at the dress of Mary) - all this creates a sublime composition full of color and thrill.
Van Eyck's masterpiece was once kept in the Hermitage, but in 1930, the new government, in an effort to “patch holes” in the economy of the newly-made country, decided to sell works of art without bargaining. The real tragedy broke out: the priceless pictures went for nothing. The same thing happened with van Eyck's "Annunciation". Even abroad, this "action" was condemned. Anyway, for Russia, the work was lost - now the picture belongs to the Washington National Gallery.

Other paintings by Jan van Eyck

Chet Arnolfini
Angel Appears to Myrrh
Worship the lamb
Madonna Chancellor Nicolas Rolen
Virgin and Child
Madonna in the church

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