Jan van Eyck’s Influence: How He Pioneered Oil Painting and Changed Art History

By Alex Greenberger
A recent Jan van Eyck survey in Belgium drew large crowds until it was unexpectedly closed early.
The influence of Northern Renaissance artist Jan van Eyck has been so outsized, it is almost impossible to discuss oil painting without considering his impact. “Talking about Van Eyck is talking about the most powerful painter in the western hemisphere,” the painter Luc Tuymans once told Even magazine. “It is not Leonardo da Vinci. It is nobody else but van Eyck.” Such a pronouncement may seem strange. The 15th-century painter died in 1441, likely in his early 50s, and he left behind just over 20 known oil paintings. [More]

Jan van Eyck, The Ghent Altarpiece, 1432.
Jan van Eyck, The Crucifixion; The Last Judgment, ca. 1440–41.


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