Talk:Jan van Eyck

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Then ... what IS it?[edit]

"This is not a painted marriage certificate, or the record of a betrothal. The woman is not pregnant, as the hand-gesture of lifting the dress recurs in contemporary renditions of the (virgin) St. Catherine (including in Jan van Eyck's own work, in the so-called Dresden triptych)."

1) AFAIK (via a source in early art two years ago) the common believe is that the painting IS a record of betrothal. So, if not, and not any of the above, what IS it? I would be curious if the person who put that information there could verify it. Just for fun, y' know?

No - see the Campbell NG catalogue ref, & Arnolfini Portrait Johnbod 13:56, 7 January 2007 (UTC)

I cannot believe you keep reverting to this 1912 version. It is stupid. It's wrong from start to end. Starting from the top, Jan van Eyck was not a Flemish painter, because he came from Maseyck, near Li?ge, not Flanders. The term is Netherlandish (as in Friedlander, Early Netherlandish Painting, Panofsky, same title, etc.). Nor is he EVER recorded to have worked under or with his brother. the Ghent inscription, not unquestioned, is the only thing tying the two brothers, and it specifically reads that Jan took over only after Hubert died. So there go the next three paragraphs. I've never even heard of that 1421 portrait, and there isn't a single scholar on the planet who still attributes to Jan with any conviction anything pre-1426. Some of the subsequent things are even too silly to address. Philip of Charolais??? Anyway, I've spent two hours rewriting this to have you nullify it, so won't spend any more. I contend that factually correct, albeit not to-protocol beats an embarrassingly false version -- you're spreading nonsense.

I think Zoe reverted your edits for two reasons: POV and lack of wikification. Some sentences should be rephrased in a more neutral way and where possible, internal links should be added. - Karl Stas 08:20, 31 December 2005 (UTC)
And so, due to lack of wikification, Zoe (a Wikipedian?) preferred to allow the article to spout nonsense rather than wikifying it, herself, or adding tags that would allow others to come and provide citations, links, etc. I might have been willing, as I frequently do, to find sources- but I'm not going to research the topic. You had an expert work on the article and spend precious time, to no avail.-- (talk) 17:44, 28 March 2010 (UTC)



"perfected the technique" "never treated him otherwise than graciously" "with almost as much vigour as his master" "Jan only differs from his brother in being less masculine and less sternly religious" "two splendid likenesses" "Like many great artists he formed but few pupils" "if the personal influence of the Van Eycks was small, that of their works was immense"

So is opinion only admissible when the facts around it are completely false? The phrase "unparalleled renown" in my version, which seems to irk Zoe so much, is based on the latest scholarship: see Paula Nuttal, From Flanders to Florence: the Impact of Netherlands Painting (2004); Till-Holger Borchert et al., The Century of Jan van Eyck (2002); Marina Belozerskaya, Rethinking the Renaissance: Burgundian Arts Across Europe (2002).

Whatever flaws it may have, my version is a better starting point. Keeping this 1912 version would be like keeping a 1904 version under "Astronomy." User:

I agree, but it wasn't me who reverted your edits in the first place. Apparently Zoe can't be bothered to defend his/her decision, so I'll revert your version. And oh, BTW, please register and sign your posts! Edits by unregistered users are reverted more lightly. - Karl Stas 17:28, 31 December 2005 (UTC)
I discussed this on the user's Talk page, if you would bother to read that, and I'm going to revert you, as the edits are unsourced concerning his brother, and "unparallelled renown" is hardly NPOV. The resources list is excessive, as well. User:Zoe|(talk) 03:51, 1 January 2006 (UTC)
Whatever its flaws, his version is superior to the 1911 EB article. I see no need to revert it completely. The EB article is not neutral either. Do you really want to start a revert war just because the edits concerning his brother are unsourced??? - Karl Stas 07:52, 1 January 2006 (UTC)
It wouldn't be a revert war if he would source his edits. User:Zoe|(talk) 20:10, 1 January 2006 (UTC)
In cases like these it's better to use one or more of these templates. Moreover, it would be unreasonable to require that editors cite a precise source for everything they write. Wikipedia articles are not scholarly articles after all, we can't put footnotes after every sentence or even paragraph. Also note that "unparalleled renown" has been changed to "of great renown in his day", which is a statement of fact, not an opinion. Karl Stas 22:12, 1 January 2006 (UTC)
Wikipedia aims at becoming a reliable source: it is in any case better than the numerous individual pages which preceded it. Could I ask the hyperquestion, whether it might be possible to extend a user profile to switch sources in or out, both in terms of original sources and commentaries thereon? In connection with the second, please also remember that you are writing for posteriority: there's nothing more irritating than to find a long list of commentaries which are all out of print and unavailable in antiquarian bookshops. It might therefore be more relevant to include the entire context in such sources.Jel 07:50, 22 April 2007 (UTC)
"Unparalleled reknown" would have been fine. It is not a matter of opinion. Reknown simply means that the person was well known in their time (and he was). Unparalleled means that no other person of that place can be found who is equally known for the same work. That's also true. If someone wants to find sources that disprove this claim (some other more famous artist exists at the time), then it would a misstatement of fact. But making statements about information flow in a society (reknown) are testable (and *any* art history book would give you the information about Van Eyck's reputation - go to Honour's History of World Art if you need an authority to state it). Easy to do. And that's what people SHOULD do when contests about fame arise on Wikipedia - grab any current, academically sound book with juried sources and just cite it. Don't claim (as I've seen) that Tolstoi isn't a famous Russian novelist or Van Eyck is not reknowned, instead of doing your homework. There are so many ways that some of you could do some work and contribute to this article, rather than continue to resist making it better.-- (talk) 17:50, 28 March 2010 (UTC)


My familiarity with Jan van Eyck is pretty much limited to an acquaintance with his major works and patronage through the court of Burgundy. The new version of the article looks like an improvement over the 1911 Brittanica article. I suggest keeping it, sourcing it, and editing for tone. Regards, Durova 03:05, 6 January 2006 (UTC)

Original Research/NPOV?[edit]

With regards to the Arnolfini Wedding, the following is said: "This is not a painted marriage certificate, or the record of a betrothal. The woman is not pregnant, as the hand-gesture of lifting the dress recurs in contemporary renditions of the (virgin) St. Catherine (including in Jan van Eyck's own work, in the so-called Dresden triptych)." I think such qualifies as original research at the least, or plugging a personal opinion/belief at worst, and should be taken out. Objections? Preston 23:44, 4 April 2006 (UTC)

If anything, it should be made to coincide with the Arnolfini article.

- See Arnolfini Portrait & the Campbell NG Catalogue. Johnbod 13:57, 7 January 2007 (UTC)

Date of birth[edit]

Not only is Van Eyck's date of birth not known, but the sequence of his birth and that of his brothers is not known. The National Gallery catalogue suggest that, if their portrait (lead pic in article) of 1433 is indeed a self-portrait, as seems likely, then he may have been born in "about 1380" - but of course this is just subjective. Johnbod 18:01, 28 January 2007 (UTC)

The Library of Congress has a 1390 birthdate and a 1440 death date, which would have been heavily researched and justified (but that research was done over 50 years ago; not sure how accurate it still is).--FeanorStar7 18:34, 30 May 2007 (UTC)

List of works[edit]

Would it be possible to start developing a list of works, including attributions? I was astonished to discover the Fountain of Grace in the Prado, which I think I can add considerably to its background from other historical studies, for instance.Jel 07:50, 22 April 2007 (UTC) is there any way to cite these sources correctly using MLA format?

Van Eyck was a Flemish painter[edit]

I have altered the confusing statement that van Eyck was a Dutch painter. This is my motivation: 1.Their is good reason to assume that van Eyck was born in Maaseyck which happens to be a municipality of the modern Flemish region in the kingdom of Belgium. 2.All the works attributable to van Eyck known today have been produced in the last decade of his life which he spend in Bruges and Ghent, both Flemish cities. (he is documented in Holland the decade before, but not a single original work from this period survives) 3.In art historical research van Eyck is (almost without exception) considered as the "founder" of the "Flemish" school. Every scholarly publication on Van Eyck considers his art in the context of Flemish artistic traditions. In most cases Jan van Eyck is explicitly referred to as a "Flemish" painter. conclusion: It would be historically correct to call van Eyck a "Netherlandish" painter because this seems more neutral than Flemish or Dutch. I think however that it would be confusing because "Netherlandish" has somewhat lost its association to "de Nederlanden" in general. As he clearly belongs to what is called the "Flemish school" it is therefore tenable to call him "Flemish".

He should be referred to as an Early Netherlandish painter, which is the correct scholarly term, and the rest left to the biography. Johnbod 03:33, 18 July 2007 (UTC)

Pronunciation of his name[edit]

When the next art historian happens by this page, would you comment on the pronunciation key given at the top of the article? We have, as the Dutch pronunciation, [ˈjɑn vɑn ˈɛjk], which when the phonetic key is followed, comes out Van (soft a) Ejk. An English speaker wants to pronounce that Ejik. Can we also have an English pronunciation key? Is "Ejik" close to the proper English pronunciation of the name? Because most people in museums pronounce it Van Ike (long I) when they point to his paintings. If it's really Ejk, for art historians. I'd like to know that.-- (talk) 17:55, 28 March 2010 (UTC)

I think "Ike" is indeed normal for Anglo art historians & anyone who does IPA should probably say so in the article. The "Dutch pronunciation" is just that - look at "Van Goff" (UK) or "Van Go" (US, France) as opposed to the "Van Horchhh" the Dutch say. Johnbod (talk) 18:13, 28 March 2010 (UTC)

How many works[edit]

Guessing the number attributed with confidence is somewhere in the low 30s, but I cant find a sources that discusses it. Anyone have a better idea of the amount. Ceoil (talk) 04:03, 22 July 2012 (UTC)

I have sources and have been trying to pin this down; it's a good question. So, working on it, but it's looking as though the number might be quite a bit lower than 30. Truthkeeper (talk) 15:51, 24 July 2012 (UTC)
The template lists 23, with Portrait of Isabella of Portugal (van Eyck) known to be lost, and not all may meet that criterion. There's also the Turin-Milan Hours, which is controversial. Fewer than 30 I bet. I can look in the Harbison if that helps. Johnbod (talk) 18:56, 24 July 2012 (UTC)
I have Elisabeth Dhanen's book and she lists less than 20 that were his only without Hubert with certainty - which is interesting. I've looked through Pacht but can't find anything that gives a specific number. I think because of the Milan-Turin Hours and the Hubert issue, it's hard to pin down. And some have been lost. Truthkeeper (talk) 20:51, 24 July 2012 (UTC)
From scanning sources, I'm counting 23, including Isabella of Portugal but not Ghent, Turin-Milan or the St Barbara drawing. Ceoil (talk) 19:48, 26 July 2012 (UTC)
I think that's about right. There's a separate portrait of Arnolfini (without the wife), which should be fixed on the template. Sorry don't know how to do that. I think that the Portrait of Jan de Leeuw and the Portrait of a Goldsmith might be the same - at least according to Pacht. I've read (sorry will have to find it) that St. Jerome in His Study is questionable. If I'm wrong, I'll strike that. So, from these bits will let you recount. Oh and btw - Ghent can definitely be attributed because he finished it. Truthkeeper (talk) 20:26, 26 July 2012 (UTC)
Oh, I mean canonical, with the usual pluses and minuses. Of course Ghent, but then is that a single work, or another 28! Ceoil (talk) 02:59, 4 August 2012 (UTC)
I've removed Annunciation van Eyck, Paris from the template, because I dont know what it is, and cant trace it. Ceoil (talk) 19:24, 16 November 2014 (UTC)
Possibly this?. Which I believe goes into the "Contested" column. Will have to check. Victoria (tk) 20:42, 16 November 2014 (UTC)
Ah, ok. Harbison attributes the workshop assistant the Master of the Grimacing St John for that piece, thanks for finding the commoms cat. Ceoil (talk) 21:46, 16 November 2014 (UTC)
What's the 1430-32 Crucifixion in the workshop column? Victoria (tk) 22:10, 16 November 2014 (UTC)

Oriental carpets[edit]

I am absolutely sick to death of the highjacking of the captions of Renaissance paintings in order to push one single point at the expense of all others.

Virgin and Child with Canon van der Paele. This painting, one of Jan van Eyck's most significant, had a caption that informed the reader that this was Virgin and Child with Canon van der Paele, 1434, one of the most well known and renowned examples of Oriental carpets in Renaissance painting. WTF?!

The caption didn't mention:

  • the identity of the saints
  • the gestures of the people
  • the symbolism
  • the objects the Virgin and Child are holding
  • the location in a church
  • the throne with its carvings
  • the canopy of the throne
  • the floor tiles and bottle glass windows.
  • the fact that the Canon has glasses

It is as if the only important and interesting thing in this painting is its oriental rug.

Yes, we do have an article of Oriental carpets in Renaissance painting, but that doesn't mean that the focus of every caption about every painting that has a carpet in it needs to be about the carpet!

When a painting is as complex as this one, then it is better to comment on nothing than to have a single-focussed comment that acts as a distraction to looking at the painting as a whole.

It would be the equivalent of writing a caption to Birth of Venus in the Botticelli article that mentions only the botanical species on Flora's robe, or writing a caption on the picture of David in the Michelangelo article that focussed entirely on the fact he is uncircumcised, and said no more than that! These things may be interesting in themselves, but they are not the subject of the artwork. Likewise, there is a great deal more to the painting of the Virgin and Canon van der Paele than the fnature of the carpet on the floor.

Could the editors of the page remove these captions from all places where they are creating an obvious imbalance in the information provided?

Amandajm (talk) 17:56, 19 August 2012 (UTC)

Agree and thanks for mentioning. It was added here and should have been picked up on a long time ago. Obviously the painting has much more than a carpet! Truthkeeper (talk) 18:39, 19 August 2012 (UTC)
Yikes. Good call Amanda. Ceoil (talk) 18:50, 19 August 2012 (UTC)


Not crazy about it. Half those images are shown in the Ghent Altarpiece and there's little thought in terms of dating, clumping by subject, etc. Thoughts? Victoria (tk) 21:39, 13 May 2014 (UTC)

Note: I've reverted to a previous version. Not only, in my view, is the gallery problematic, but the structure of the page shouldn't be changed. The page obviously needs a lot of expansion, in terms of adding text, which would be a major undertaking. Victoria (tk) 23:50, 13 May 2014 (UTC)

I think this old master's works were extremely poorly represented. Galleries are NOT discuraged. Presenting details is a common practice when those works are so big like his. All art books are FULL OF details of his works, why should this be unacceptable on Wikipedia? One can't represent an artist with a lot of TEXT and nothing else but text plus three not so representative works.

About images and galleries: Images in the gallery collectively do have encyclopedic value and add to the reader's understanding of the subject. Galleries are not discuraged. Please see also this discussion here, Talk:Charles Marion Russell.

Per WP:IG:

Images are typically interspersed individually throughout an article near the relevant text (see WP:MOSIMAGES). However, the use of a gallery section may be appropriate in some Wikipedia articles if a collection of images can illustrate aspects of a subject that cannot be easily or adequately described by text or individual images. The images in the gallery collectively must have encyclopedic value and add to the reader's understanding of the subject.

  • Image use policy say: Sometimes a picture may benefit from a size other than the default; see the Manual of Style for guidance.

  • Manual of style: **As a general rule, images should not be set to a larger fixed size than the 220px default (users can adjust this in their preferences). 'If an exception to the general rule is warranted', forcing an image size to be either larger or smaller than the 220px default is done by placing a parameter in the image coding.

  • The exception from the general rule is most art and art related articles that they do fall into this cathegory, and they are this exception to the general rule .

Hafspajen (talk) 23:58, 13 May 2014 (UTC)

Hi Hafspajen, let's follow WP:BRD please. You were bold, I reverted. Now it's time to discuss, not revert again. I've said what I had to say, you've added to the conversation, now it's time to allow others to chime in. Thanks. Btw - have a look at who brought those to FAC, fwiw. Victoria (tk) 00:03, 14 May 2014 (UTC)

You just go and revert like five hours work without discussing it and than when we are all in really a bad mood then we can start discussing. Brilliant. Hafspajen (talk) 00:05, 14 May 2014 (UTC)

I've regigged the gallery a bit, keeping the 3 level struct; Ghent, religious commissions and portraits. Hope this is acceptable to all. Ceoil (talk) 00:19, 23 May 2014 (UTC)
It's much better. Thanks. Victoria (tk) 19:48, 23 May 2014 (UTC)
I didnt change it much from what Hafspajen had put together, just reordered and what have you. Wondering about something like what the have on the ca wiki. Ceoil (talk) 20:41, 23 May 2014 (UTC)
I guess I kinda wish I hadn't brought it up. But fwiw … Hafspajen says above that art books are full of details, which is true, but in context. Dhanens has an entry (text) for each painting and the entry shows the painting and its details. I'd prefer we go in that direction and focus here on text (slowly), and as the text grows add in images to match the text, like we did with ENA. But that's just my opinion. I'd pulled it into my sandbox to do something about it, but you got to it first and the reordering is better. Personally I'm not crazy about the ca.wp unless we make a separate list of all the paintings or something. Not all that crazy about the gallery either, but won't fight it, and it serves a purpose now, I suppose until we can get text in. I have plenty of sources to build up this page (Pacht, Dhanens, Borchert, etc., etc.) but little time this summer for heavy lifting. Anyway, since you asked. Victoria (tk) 21:38, 23 May 2014 (UTC)
Don't understand how on earth one should present a big artist without a gallery. Only articles that are about one single picture manage without galleries, or artists that only painted three or four pictures or so. (Very unusual...) Hafspajen (talk) 09:49, 25 May 2014 (UTC)
What the hell is your point by now. Your first attempt at a gallery needed improvment. Can we all let this drop, its pointless. Ceoil (talk) 09:52, 25 May 2014 (UTC)
Don't swear Ceoil. You THANKED me for my edit right? NOW you reverted it and I DON't understand what your point is. I am swiching off now and you do whatever you want. Hafspajen (talk) 10:41, 25 May 2014 (UTC)
I am inclinded to swear Hafspajen, my bad but dont let that put you off; I would like you input on this page, and we are all on the same side. Friends? Ceoil (talk) 11:04, 25 May 2014 (UTC)
Hi Hafspajen, I don't know why you'd say "how on earth" and use that kind of tone? I pulled the article into my sandbox hoping to rewrite there and add text - which is how on earth it's done, since this is an encyclopedia - but Ceoil got to the rewriting first, so I'll bow out. In my view there's a potentially wonderful page here, but I think it would be a many months' job of research and writing, but hey, what do I know? You like the gallery, Ceoil doesn't mind, no one else has responded, so consensus is to keep the gallery. I don't think anything else needs to be said about it. Victoria (tk) 13:35, 25 May 2014 (UTC)
I rather like the gallery. Ceoil (talk) 13:41, 25 May 2014 (UTC)
And that's why we have talk pages to gauge consensus. So it's all good :) Victoria (tk) 13:44, 25 May 2014 (UTC)
I like the gallery as I say, also its a narrow enough area of inerest so good to have outside input. Happy to have Hafspajen on board. Ceoil (talk) 13:48, 25 May 2014 (UTC)
Look, I already admitted I made a mistake for bringing it up and again: what do I know? I'm sorry for mentioning. Victoria (tk) 13:53, 25 May 2014 (UTC)
I think we are all friends here. And can work togheher. Ceoil (talk) 13:57, 25 May 2014 (UTC)

Craig Harbison references[edit]

There are only two Craig Harbison references listed under Sources (1984 and 1997). But there are citations to two additional Harbison refs (1991 and 1995). Do these refs just have the wrong dates, or are there missing sources? MANdARAX  XAЯAbИAM 23:14, 19 November 2015 (UTC)

Mandarax, 1991 & 1995 refer to the same book but different publications. The refs and pf nr are all to the 1991 edition. Thanks for spotting. Ceoil (talk) 23:31, 19 November 2015 (UTC)