The first truly great masterpiece to demonstrate the possibilities available when working with oil paint, so they say, was the van Eyck brothers’ Altarpiece of Ghent. (The elder brother, Hubert, apparently did the general design, and his brother Jan painted it after the brother’s death.)
I ran across a reference during my studies of the history of Belgium, and found it interesting, though it is (at present) very unlikely to turn up in my novel.
A little research turned up a few worthwhile links, though:
- Here’s an NPR piece on it (supposedly) being the most stolen artwork in history, and the most coveted one as well. There’s plenty there besides the full-sized version of the graphic above, including mention of Nazi occult interest in the painting.
- While(quite rightly) dispensing with much of the loony conspiracy theories posted about the painting online, this page does touch on some interesting mysteries about the significance of some of the imagery.
- See the altarpiece in 100 billion pixels on the Closer to Van Eyck website. (Plus a discussion of the site on CNN.com.)
While reading about this painting, I ran up against a couple of other odd links that connect to my own novel’s subject, though, and I thought I’d note them here, for the curious. There’s a lot of weird stuff that sort of all links up… or, well, looks like that, when you twist and adjust it, and squint a little while looking from the right angle, which is to say, when you look at it with a conspiratorial-playful mindset (without taking it all too seriously, of course). Continue reading