Jan van Eyck and Hubert van Eyck (Dictionary of World Biography: Renaissance)
Article abstract: In paintings of unprecedented accuracy of observation and coherence of form, the van Eycks achieved a fusion of Christian religious content with a passionate devotion to visual fact.
The commonplace facts of the lives of Jan and Hubert van Eyck are almost entirely absent from the historical record. Jan’s estimated year of birth, 1390, seems reasonable in view of the established details of his early career, as well as his date of death, 1441. Of Hubert, whose very existence has occasionally been called into question by scholars, evidence suggests that he was an elder brother; a taxation document from 1426 establishes that he died at about that time.
Both Hubert and Jan may have worked in The Hague from about 1415 to 1417, and it is certain that Jan was employed in that city from 1422 to 1424 by John of Bavaria, who as Count of Holland maintained his court there. A document indicates that Jan was accompanied in his work there by at least two assistants. In early 1425, civil war broke out in Holland, and Jan sought refuge in Flanders, where Hubert had already gone. On May 19, Jan van Eyck entered the service of Philip III, Duke of Burgundy. Philip the Good, as he was known, had a high regard both for Jan’s artistic abilities and for his skills as a negotiator, since over the next several years Jan was engaged in various missions on Philip’s behalf, including a journey in 1428...
(The entire section is 2406 words.)
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