Thursday, February 20, 2020

The Van Eyck Restoration that Shocked the World

By Fisun Güner
When Van Eyck’s Ghent Altarpiece was revealed after years of restoration, many were shocked by the strange appearance of the Mystic Lamb
European artists of the past often depicted exotic animals in a way we now know to be wildly inaccurate. Since most would not have had the benefit of direct observation but were usually reliant only on a written description, accompanied by a sketchy illustration that may itself have been anatomically wide of the mark, this is far from surprising. Albrecht Dürer’s rhinoceros of 1515, depicting the creature as if its thick hide were a suit of armour, comes to mind.... But a lamb, surely, of which plenty could be found gambolling through the fields of medieval Europe, can’t have presented any such mysteries, especially for an artist as observant, as none had been before him, of the tiniest material detail as the 15th-Century Flemish artist Jan van Eyck. [More]