Van Eyck. An Optical Revolution at Museum of Fine Arts (MSK), Ghent, February 1 – April 30, 2020

“Worldwide, only approximately twenty works by Van Eyck have been preserved. Quite exceptionally, over half of these traveled to Ghent in 2020 for the exhibition ‘Van Eyck. An Optical Revolution’ at the Museum of Fine Arts (MSK). In what marks an unmissable and strong exhibition, the world of Van Eyck and his revolutionary gaze is brought to life like never before.

The centerpieces of the exhibition are the outer panels of ‘The Adoration of the Mystic Lamb’. These were restored in the MSK by the Royal Institute for Cultural Heritage between 2012 and 2016. In a highly exceptional loan, they returned to the museum where they are reunited with other works by Van Eyck for the very first time.

To contextualize the optical revolution he inspired, Van Eyck’s paintings are shown alongside works by his most talented peers from Germany, France, Italy, and Spain. ‘Van Eyck. An Optical Revolution’ is a once-in-a-lifetime experience and one of the absolute highlights of Ghent’s 2020 Van Eyck theme year.

The exhibition in 2020 brings around 80 late medieval works to Ghent. Painting, miniature art, sculpture, and drawings are placed next to and opposite each other to bring the medieval world of Van Eyck to life. For this, the MSK worked in close collaboration with international partners.” —  Museum of Fine Arts

01-De Aanbidding van het Lam Gods

Jan (Maaseik?, c. 1390 – Bruges, 1441) and Hubert van Eyck (Maaseik, c. 1366/1370- Ghent, 1426). The Adoration of the Mystic Lamb, 1432. Outer panels of the closed altarpiece. Oil on panel. Saint Bavo’s Cathedral, Ghent.

02-Madonna bij de fontein

Jan van Eyck (Maaseik?, c. 1390 – Bruges, 1441). The Madonna at the Fountain, 1439. Oil on panel. 19 x 12 cm. Royal Museum of Fine Arts, Antwerp. Photo Hugo Maertens.

03-Baudouin de Lannoye-gerestaureerd

Jan van Eyck (Maaseik?, c. 1390 – Bruges, 1441). Portrait of Baudouin de Lannoy, c. 1435. Oil on panel. 26.6 x 19.6 cm. Gemäldegalerie der Staatlichen Museen zu Berlin – Preussischer Kulturbesitz, Berlin.

04-De Annunciatie diptiek

Jan van Eyck (Maaseik?, c. 1390 – Bruges, 1441). The Annunciation Diptych, c. 1433-1435. Oil on panel. Left: 38.8 x 23.2 cm. Right: 39 x 24 cm. Museo Nacional Thyssen-Bornemisza, Madrid.

05-Portret van een man met blauwe kaproen

Jan van Eyck (Maaseik?, c. 1390 – Bruges, 1441). Portrait of a Man with a Blue Chaperon, c. 1428−1430. Oil on panel. 22 x 17 cm. Muzeul National Brukenthal, Sibiu (Romania).

11-Petrus Wyts triptiek

Anonymous (Southern Low Countries), after Jan van Eyck (Maaseik?, c. 1390 – Bruges, 1441). The Triptych of Petrus Wyts, first half 17th century (central panel), first half 16th century (outer panels). Oil on panel. 172 x 99 cm 172 x 41 cm (shutters). Groeningemuseum, Bruges. Photo Hugo Maertens.

16-Heilige Barbara

Jan van Eyck (Maaseik?, c. 1390 – Bruges, 1441). The Saint Barbara of Nicomedia, 1437. Oil on panel. 32 × 18,2 cm. Royal Museum of Fine Arts Antwerp, Antwerp. Photo Hugo Maertens.

17-Madonna bij de fontein

Jan van Eyck and workshop (Maaseik?, c. 1390 – Brugge, 1441). The Madonna at the fountain, c. 1440. Oil on panel. 21,3 x 17,2 cm. Private collection (© Courtesy of the Frick Collection).


Jan van Eyck (Maaseik?, c. 1390 – Bruges, 1441). The Annunciation, c. 1434-1436. Oil on panel, transferred onto canvas. 92.7 x 36.7 cm. National Gallery of Art, Washington, Andrew W. Mellon Collection.


Jan van Eyck (Maaseik?, c. 1390 – Bruges, 1441). The Turin-Milan Book of Hours, c. 1410-1440. Tempera, gold and ink on parchment. 284 x 203 mm. Palazzo Madama, Turin – Museo Civico d’Arte Antica. Reproduced by permission of the Fondazione Torino Musei.


Jan van Eyck (Maaseik?, c. 1390 – Bruges, 1441). Saint Francis of Assisi Receiving the Stigmata, 1440. Oil on vellum on panel. 12,7 x 14,6 cm. Philadelphia Museum of Art, John G. Johnson Collection, 1917. Courtesy of the Philadelphia Museum of Art.


Jan van Eyck (Maaseik?, ca. 1390 – Brugge, 1441). Portrait of Jan de Leeuw, 1436. Oil on panel. 33 x 27,5 cm. Kunsthistorisches Museum Wenen, Gemäldegalerie.


Jan van Eyck (Maaseik?, ca. 1390 – Brugge, 1441). Portrait of Margareta van Eyck, 1439. Oil on panel. 32,6 x 25,8 cm. Musea Brugge. Photo: Hugo Maertens.

Images courtesy Museum of Fine Arts (MSK).