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Jan van Eyck : the play of realism

Author: Craig Harbison
Publisher: London : Reaktion Books : Seattle : Distributed in the USA and Canada by the University of Washington, [1999], ©1991.
Edition/Format:   Print book : EnglishView all editions and formats
Summary:
"Jan van Eyck (fl. 1422-41) was the foremost artist of the Early Netherlandish School. Although Court painter to Duke Philip the Good of Burgundy, van Eyck's surviving work was not executed for the Duke, but for rising Court bureaucrats, Italian merchants and members of the secular clergy, for whom he created a series of painstakingly detailed oil paintings of astonishing verisimilitude. Most explanations of the  Read more...
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Genre/Form: Criticism, interpretation, etc
Named Person: Jan van Eyck; Jan van Eyck
Document Type: Book
All Authors / Contributors: Craig Harbison
ISBN: 0948462183 9780948462184 0948462795 9780948462795
OCLC Number: 1104059887
Notes: Includes bibliographical references (p. 204-223) and index.
Description: 228 p. : ill. (some col.) ; 29 cm.
Contents: 1. Introduction --
2. Van Eyck's Realism --
3. The Artist's Place at the Burgundian Court --
4. An Italian Courtier's Story --
5. The Ecclesiastical Compact of a Secular Canon --
6. Private Devotion in a Schismatic Church --
7. The Function of Religious Belief for van Eyck --
8. The Doctrine of Mary --
9. The Sacrament of the Altar --
10. The Patrons of Domestic Religious Imagery --
11. The Confession of Chancellor Nicolas Rolin --
12. Patronage by Burgundian Court Functionaries --
13. Literary Sources for van Eyck's Art --
14. Physical Format and Verbal Inscription --
15. A Litany to the Sacred Heart of Jesus --
16. Architectural Style and Sculptural Symbolism --
17. Van Eyck's Modern Icon --
18. The Image and Experience of Pilgrimage --
19. Pretence and Scepticism in the Fifteenth Century --
20. A Different Perspective in the Ghent Altarpiece --
21. The Interpretation of Early Netherlandish Painting.
Responsibility: Craig Harbison.

Abstract:

"Jan van Eyck (fl. 1422-41) was the foremost artist of the Early Netherlandish School. Although Court painter to Duke Philip the Good of Burgundy, van Eyck's surviving work was not executed for the Duke, but for rising Court bureaucrats, Italian merchants and members of the secular clergy, for whom he created a series of painstakingly detailed oil paintings of astonishing verisimilitude. Most explanations of the meanings behind these paintings have been grounded in the disguised religious symbolism critics have insisted are uppermost in them. Van Eyck, it is said, followed traditional theology in this respect - albeit in sophisticated ways; his realist art displayed in iconic and allusive forms the conventional symbols of Church teaching and popular piety." "But in Jan van Eyck: The Play of Realism, such approaches to the art of this Netherlandish master are set aside. In a fascinating recovery of the neglected human dimension that is present in these works, Craig Harbison interrogates the personal histories of the worldly participants of such masterpieces as the Virgin and Child with George van der Paele, the Arnolfini Double Portrait and the Virgin and Child with Nicolas Rolin. In addition to exploring the domestic and financial circumstances of the sitters, the author reveals the remarkable degree to which they were caught up in the wider social and spiritual concerns of the early fifteenth century, including the increasing abuse of indulgences and benefices, the rise of religious scepticism and the spread of popular, anti-clerical private prayer."--BOOK JACKET.

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