A true work of art is but a shadow of the Devine perfection. – Michelangelo. The world during the time of the Renaissance was similar to Rome, in a sense that it was for the most part humanistic. On the contrary, Jan Van Eyck, an artist during the Renaissance, was a very dedicated Christian painter. Most all of his work has the very deep spiritual symbolism of Jesus Christ as well as God himself.
While some artists decided to take the route of humanistic ideas, Jan Van Eyck decided to become a devout follower of Jesus and attempt to capture the beauty of God through his artwork. In his most famous work of art, The Arnolfini Portrait, there are crosses painted in the background that has been painted with single hair paint brushes. The mirror in the center of the canvas has many biblical images including a crucifixion scene. In another painting, Lucca Madonna, Mary is sitting in a throne-like chair holding baby Jesus. Baby Jesus is holding apples which symbolize the fall of man. Many other paintings that were painted by Jan Van Eyck contain hidden symbolism.
Jan Van Eyck’s paintings: Lucca Madonna and The Arnolfini Portrait have many similarities as well as many differences. Lucca Madonna has warm colors all around. On the left side of this painting, there is a window which brings in the warm evening light. The room, in which Mary is seen holding baby Jesus, is incredibly sacred looking and gives a holy and royal mindset to the painting. Mary sits in her throne-like chair and nurses baby Jesus who is holding the apple which symbolizes the fall of humanity. In The Arnolfini Portrait, there are two people, a man, and a woman, standing in front of a first class type of building holding hands. On the left side of the painting, there is a window that lets in a cold colored light. In the very center of the portrait, at the bottom, therer’s a small dog who looks up from the perspective of the image. In the direct center, there is a mirror in which you can see the reflection of everything in the painting as well as an image of the painter himself painting the couple.
Both paintings are painted from the same perspective. The faces of the people in both images are very similar looking and capture a realistic look. Both paintings share the same kind of window in the exact same spot. Both windows have fruit laying next to them as well. Both pictures have the symbolism of Jesus Christ and
God the Father. These paintings are very obvious painted by the same painter with the same mindset. Both of the paintings also have many differences. Lucca Madonna has a very warm color thatr’s very easy on the eyes whereas The Arnolfini Portrait is a little colder and has more vibrant colors. The meanings of the two paintings are different as well. Lucca Madonna has the image of baby Jesus being nursed by Mary and symbolizes the fall of man. The picture also looks holy. The Arnolfini Portrait is pointing more towards Jesus in the work. Even though both of these works are by the same artist you can see the diversity and creativity in both of these paintings.
Jan Van Eyck knew how to turn away from humanism and refocus on God. These paintings really show the beauty of God. Michelangelo claimed that art is a shadow of the Devine and he was correct. Jan Van Eyck was really able to reflect God in his paintings. This art is still valued today and makes art historians really marvel at the beauty. Jan Van Eyck not only painted to get by but instead he painted to seek beauty and truth and capture the essence of God.
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