This week’s Modern Art Notes Podcast is devoted to Jan van Eyck, the greatest painter of the northern Renaissance.
Remarkably, there’s only one English-language monograph on van Eyck’s art. Titled “Jan Van Eyck: The Play of Realism,” it was written by my first guest, Craig Harbison. The book, which was first published in 1991 and has now been revised and expanded to reflect new research on van Eyck’s work, is a wonderful read. It’s smart and detailed, but reads lightly. It’s a too-rare example of a top art historian willing to allow his sense of wonder at his subject’s work to infuse every page.
This season’s second major van Eyck news is the creation of “Closer to van Eyck: Rediscovering the Ghent Altarpiece.” The website is remarkable for many reasons. First: It’s difficult to see the Ghent Altarpiece in any detail in person: Many of the panels are 15 feet off the ground, leaving them impossible to examine closely. Now anyone can examine high-resolution, digital versions of them in never-seen-before quality.