Jan van Eyck was one of the greatest revolutionaries in art. He radically changed the way in which men look at the natural world. His artistic achievements were well-known in Renaissance Italy. Vasari, who wrote about Van Eyck a hundred years later, wrongly attributed the discovery of oil painting to him. Only a few years after his death in 1441, Jan van Eyck was being hailed on both sides of the Alps as one of the greatest painter of the age.
Despite Van Eyck’s great fame, little is known of his life except for his last years. For the last 16 years of his life, he worked at the court of Philip the Good, The Duke of Burgundy. The Duke made use of his skills as both painter and diplomat, sending him on numerous secret missions.
The works of Jan van Eyck are celebrated for their visual splendor and precision of detail. Their brilliant colours and magnificent definition are due to Jan’s refinement of the oil-painting technique and died even before the great High Renaissance master painters were even born.