Genoa is the capital of the Italian region of Liguria and the sixth-largest city in Italy. In 2015, 594,733 people lived within the city's administrative limits; as of the 2011 Italian census, the Province of Genoa, which in 2015 became the Metropolitan City of Genoa, counted 855,834 resident persons. Over 1.5 million people live in the wider metropolitan area stretching along the Italian Riviera. Located on the Gulf of Genoa in the Ligurian Sea, Genoa has been one of the most important ports on the Mediterranean: it is the busiest in Italy and in the Mediterranean Sea and twelfth-busiest in the European Union. Genoa has been nicknamed la Superba due to its glorious impressive landmarks. Part of the old town of Genoa was inscribed on the World Heritage List in 2006 as Genoa: Le Strade Nuove and the system of the Palazzi dei Rolli; the city's rich cultural history in art and cuisine allowed it to become the 2004 European Capital of Culture. It is the birthplace of Christopher Columbus, Andrea Doria, Niccolò Paganini, Giuseppe Mazzini, Renzo Piano and Grimaldo Canella, founder of the House of Grimaldi, among others.
Genoa, which forms the southern corner of the Milan-Turin-Genoa industrial triangle of Northwest Italy, is one of the country's major economic centers. The city has hosted massive shipyards and steelworks since the 19th century, its solid financial sector dates back to the Middle Ages; the Bank of Saint George, founded in 1407, is among the oldest in the world and has played an important role in the city's prosperity since the middle of the 15th century. Today a number of leading Italian companies are based in the city, including Fincantieri, Selex ES, Ansaldo Energia, Ansaldo STS, Edoardo Raffinerie Garrone, Piaggio Aerospace, Mediterranean Shipping Company and Costa Cruises; the flag of Genoa is a red cross on a white field. The English Monarch paid an annual tribute to the Doge of Genoa for this privilege." The patron saint of Genoa was Saint Lawrence until at least 958, but the Genoese transferred their allegiance to Saint George at some point during the 11th or 12th century, most with the rising popularity of the military saint during the Crusades.
Genoa had a banner displaying a cross since at latest 1218 as early as 1113. But the cross banner was not associated with the saint. A depiction of this flag is shown in the Genoese annals under the year 1227; the Genoese flag with the red cross was used alongside this "Saint George's flag", from at least 1218, known as the insignia cruxata comunis Janue. The saint's flag was the city's main war flag, but the cross flag was used alongside it in the 1240s; the Saint George's flag remained the main flag of Genoa at least until the 1280s. The flag now known as the "St. George's Cross" seems to have replaced it as Genoa's main flag at some point during the 14th century; the Book of Knowledge of All Kingdoms shows it, inscribed with the word iustiçia, described as: And the lord of this place has as his ensign a white pennant with a red cross. At the top it is inscribed in this manner; the city of Genoa covers an area of 243 square kilometres between the Ligurian Sea and the Apennine Mountains. The city stretches along the coast for about 30 kilometres from the neighbourhood of Voltri to Nervi, for 10 kilometres from the coast to the north along the valleys Polcevera and Bisagno.
The territory of Genoa is popularly divided into 5 main zones: the centre, the west, the east, the Polcevera and the Bisagno Valley. Genoa is adjacent to two popular Ligurian vacation spots: Portofino. In the metropolitan area of Genoa lies Aveto Natural Regional Park. Genoa has a humid subtropical climate in the Köppen climate classification, since only one summer month has less than 40 millimetres of rainfall, preventing it from being classified as oceanic or Mediterranean; the average yearly temperature is around 19 °C during 13 °C at night. In the coldest months: December and February, the average temperature is 12 °C during the day and 6 °C at night. In the warmest months – July and August – the average temperature is 27.5 °C during the day and 21 °C at night. The daily temperature range is limited, with an average range of about 6 °C between high and low temperatures. Genoa sees significant moderation from the sea, in stark contrast to areas behind the Ligurian mountains such as Parma, where summers are hotter and winters are quite cold.
Annually, the average 2.9 of nights recorded temperatures of ≤0 °C. The coldest temperature recorded was −8 °C on the night of February 2012. Average annual number of days with temperatures of ≥30 °C is about 8, average four days in July and August. Average annual temperature of the sea is 17.5 °C, from 13 °C in the period January–March to 25 °C in August. In the period from June to October, the average sea temperature exceeds
Aphrodite of Knidos
The Aphrodite of Knidos was an Ancient Greek sculpture of the goddess Aphrodite created by Praxiteles of Athens around the 4th century BCE. It is one of the first life-sized representations of the nude female form in Greek history, displaying an alternative idea to male heroic nudity. Praxiteles' Aphrodite is shown nude, reaching for a bath towel while covering her pubis, which, in turn leaves her breasts exposed. Up until this point, Greek sculpture had been dominated by male nude figures; the original Greek sculpture is no longer in existence. Variants of the Venus Pudica are the Capitoline Venus; the Aphrodite of Knidos was commissioned as the cult statue for the Temple of Aphrodite at Knidos. It depicted the goddess Aphrodite as she prepared for the ritual bath that restored her purity, discarding her drapery with one hand, while modestly shielding herself with the other; the placement of her hands obscures her pubic area, while drawing attention to her exposed upper body. The statue is famed for its beauty, is designed to be appreciated from every angle.
Because the various copies show different body shapes and accessories, the original can only be described in general terms. Lucian said that she "wore a slight smile that just revealed her teeth", although most copies do not preserve this; the female nude appeared nearly three centuries after the earliest nude male counterparts in Greek sculpture, the kouros. The Aphrodite of Knidos established a canon for the proportions of the female nude, inspired many copies to follow its lead, the best of, considered to be the Colonna Knidia, in the Vatican's Pio-Clementine Museum. A Roman copy, it is not thought to match the polished beauty of the original, destroyed in a disastrous fire at Constantinople in AD 475. According to an account by Pliny the Elder, Praxiteles sculpted both a nude statue and a draped statue of Aphrodite; the city of Kos purchased the draped statue, because they felt the nude version was indecent and reflected poorly on their city, while the city of Knidos purchased the nude statue.
Pliny claims. Coins issued in Knidos depicting the statue seem to confirm this claim. Praxiteles was alleged to have used the courtesan Phryne as a model for the statue, which added to the gossip surrounding its origin; the statue became so known and copied that in a humorous anecdote the goddess Aphrodite herself came to Knidos to see it. A lyric epigram of Antipater of Sidon places a hypothetical question on the lips of the goddess herself: A similar epigram is attributed to Plato: When Cypris saw Cypris at Cnidus, "Alas!" said she. The statue became a tourist attraction in spite of being a cult image, a patron of the Knidians. Nicomedes I of Bithynia offered to pay off the enormous debts of the city of Knidos in exchange for the statue, but the Knidians rejected his offer; the statue would have been polychromed, was so lifelike that it aroused men sexually, as witnessed by the tradition that a young man broke into the temple at night and attempted to copulate with the statue, leaving a stain on it.
This story is recorded in the dialogue Erotes, traditionally attributed to Lucian of Samosata. The same dialogue offers the fullest literary description of the temenos of Aphrodite at Knidos: Of the Aphrodite herself, the narrator resorts to hyperbole: Praxiteles created two statues: one clothed and the other naked. Kos was horrified at the depiction of Aphrodite nude. Knidos bought the remaining Aphrodite and she was installed in Knidos' sanctuary to the goddess, thus gained a widespread cult-like following for its beauty; the statue was created for the temple of Aphrodite Euploia at Knidos and depicts a naked Aphrodite as she is interrupted while bathing. The City of Knidos welcomed the Aphrodite statue and held high regard for her; the statue became a tourist attraction in spite of being a cult image, a patron of the Knidians. Pliny the Elder notes the circumstances of the Aphrodite:"Praxiteles in fact made two statues which he put up for sale together. One of them was draped, because it was draped it was preferred by the people of Kos, who had first choice of the statues.
They thought. But the statue they refused was taken instead by the people of Knidos, it was this statue which became renowned. King Nicomedes tried to buy it from the Knidians, promising to discharge their enormous state debt, but the Knidians resolutely held on to their statue, rightly so: for it was the work Praxiteles which make Knidos famous." The statue would have been polychromed, was so lifelike that it aroused men sexually, as witnessed by the tradition that a young man broke into the temple at night and attempted to copulate with the statue, leaving a stain on it. This story is recorded in Pseudo-Lucian's Erotes: Lucian sails to Knidos, in which he calls it "Aphrodite's city", with two friends. One a Corinthian man, the other an Athenian, they tour the entire city and come upon the Aphrodite's temple. Once they get to the statue, can observe that the figure is completely'revealed', aside from her erogenous zones, Lucian's Corinthian friend gets excited and promptly kisses the statue on the lips.
The three companions
Cleopatra VII Philopator was the last active ruler of the Ptolemaic Kingdom of Egypt, nominally survived as pharaoh by her son Caesarion. As a member of the Ptolemaic dynasty, she was a descendant of its founder Ptolemy I Soter, a Macedonian Greek general and companion of Alexander the Great. After the death of Cleopatra, Egypt became a province of the Roman Empire, marking the end of the Hellenistic period that had lasted since the reign of Alexander. While her native language was Koine Greek, she was the first Ptolemaic ruler to learn the Egyptian language. In 58 BC, Cleopatra accompanied her father Ptolemy XII during his exile to Rome, after a revolt in Egypt allowed his eldest daughter Berenice IV to claim the throne; the latter was killed in 55 BC. When Ptolemy XII died in 51 BC, he was succeeded by Cleopatra and her younger brother Ptolemy XIII as joint rulers, but a falling-out between them led to open civil war. After losing the 48 BC Battle of Pharsalus in Greece against his rival Julius Caesar in Caesar's Civil War, the Roman statesman Pompey fled to Egypt, a Roman client state.
Ptolemy XIII had Pompey killed. Caesar, a consul of the Roman Republic, attempted to reconcile Ptolemy XIII with Cleopatra. Ptolemy XIII's chief adviser Potheinos viewed Caesar's terms as favoring Cleopatra, so his forces, which fell under the control of Cleopatra's younger sister, Arsinoe IV, besieged Caesar and Cleopatra at the palace; the siege was lifted by reinforcements in early 47 BC and Ptolemy XIII died shortly thereafter in the Battle of the Nile. Arsinoe IV was exiled to Ephesus, Caesar, now an elected dictator, declared Cleopatra and her younger brother Ptolemy XIV as joint rulers of Egypt. However, Caesar maintained a private affair with Cleopatra that produced Caesarion. Cleopatra traveled to Rome as a client queen in 44 BC, staying at Caesar's villa; when Caesar was assassinated in 44 BC, Cleopatra attempted to have Caesarion named as his heir, but this fell instead to Caesar's grandnephew Octavian. Cleopatra had Ptolemy XIV killed and elevated Caesarion as co-ruler. In the Liberators' civil war of 43–42 BC, Cleopatra sided with the Roman Second Triumvirate formed by Octavian, Mark Antony, Marcus Aemilius Lepidus.
After their meeting at Tarsos in 41 BC, Cleopatra had an affair with Antony that would produce three children: Alexander Helios, Cleopatra Selene II, Ptolemy Philadelphus. Antony used his authority as a triumvir to carry out the execution of Arsinoe IV at Cleopatra's request, he became reliant on Cleopatra for both funding and military aid during his invasions of the Parthian Empire and Kingdom of Armenia. In the Donations of Alexandria, Cleopatra's children with Antony were declared rulers over various erstwhile territories under Antony's authority; this event, along with his marriage to Cleopatra and divorce of Octavian's sister Octavia Minor, led to the Final War of the Roman Republic. After engaging in a war of propaganda, Octavian forced Antony's allies in the Roman Senate to flee Rome in 32 BC and declared war on Cleopatra; the naval fleet of Antony and Cleopatra was defeated at the 31 BC Battle of Actium by Octavian's general Agrippa. Octavian's forces defeated those of Antony, leading to his suicide.
When Cleopatra learned that Octavian planned to bring her to Rome for his triumphal procession, she committed suicide by poisoning, with the popular belief being that she was bitten by an asp. Cleopatra's legacy survives in numerous works of both ancient and modern. Roman historiography and Latin poetry produced a polemic and negative view of the queen that pervaded Medieval and Renaissance literature. In the visual arts, ancient depictions of Cleopatra include Roman and Ptolemaic coinage, busts, cameo glass, cameo carvings, paintings, she was the subject of many works in Renaissance and Baroque art, which included sculptures, poetry, theatrical dramas such as William Shakespeare's Antony and Cleopatra, operas such as George Frideric Handel's Giulio Cesare in Egitto. In modern times Cleopatra has appeared in both the applied and fine arts, burlesque satire, Hollywood films such as Cleopatra, brand images for commercial products, becoming a pop culture icon of Egyptomania since the Victorian era.
The Latinized form Cleopatra comes from the Ancient Greek Kleopátrā, meaning "glory of her father", from κλέος and πᾰτήρ. The masculine form would have been written either as Pátroklos. Cleopatra was the name of Alexander the Great's sister, as well as Cleopatra Alcyone, wife of Meleager in Greek mythology. Through the marriage of Ptolemy V Epiphanes and Cleopatra I Syra, the name entered the Ptolemaic dynasty. Cleopatra's adopted title Theā́ Philopátōra means "goddess who loves her father." Ptolemaic pharaohs were crowned by the Egyptian High Priest of Ptah at Memphis, but resided in the multicultural and Greek city of Alexandria, established by Alexander the Great of Macedon. They spoke Greek and governed Egypt as Hellenistic Greek monarchs, refusing to learn the native Egyptian language. In contrast, Cleopatra could speak multiple languages by adulthood and was the first Ptolemaic ruler to learn the Egyptian language, she spoke Ethiopian, Hebrew, the Syrian language, Median and Latin
Simonetta Vespucci, nicknamed la bella Simonetta, was an Italian noblewoman from Genoa, the wife of Marco Vespucci of Florence and the cousin-in-law of Amerigo Vespucci. She was known as the greatest beauty of her age in Northern Italy, was the model for many paintings by Sandro Botticelli, Piero di Cosimo, other Florentine painters. Simonetta Vespucci was born Simonetta Cattaneo circa 1453 in a part of the Republic of Genoa, now in the Italian region of Liguria. A more precise location for her birthplace is unknown: the city of Genoa, or either Portovenere or Fezzano; the Florentine poet Politian wrote that her home was "in that stern Ligurian district up above the seacoast, where angry Neptune beats against the rocks... There, like Venus, she was born among the waves." Her father was a Genoese nobleman named Gaspare Cattaneo della Volta and her mother was Gaspare's wife, Cattocchia Spinola (another source names her parents differently, as Gaspare Cattaneo and Chateroccia di Marco Spinola. At age sixteen she married Marco Vespucci, son of Piero, a distant cousin of the explorer and cartographer Amerigo Vespucci.
They met in April 1469. Marco had been sent to Genoa by Piero, to study at the Banco di San Giorgio. Smitten with Simonetta, Marco was accepted by her parents as his daughter's prospective bridegroom. Simonetta and Marco were married in Florence that same year. According to legend, Simonetta became popular at the Florentine court, attracted the interest of the Medici brothers and Giuliano. Lorenzo permitted the Vespucci wedding to be held at the palazzo in Via Larga, held the wedding reception at their lavish Villa di Careggi. At La Giostra in 1475, held at the Piazza Santa Croce, Giuliano entered the lists bearing a banner upon, a picture of Simonetta as a helmeted Pallas Athene, painted by Botticelli, beneath, the French inscription La Sans Pareille, meaning "The Unparalleled One." Giuliano won the tournament, nominated Simonetta as “The Queen of Beauty” at that event. It is clear that Simonetta had a reputation as an exceptional beauty in Florence, but Giuliano's display should be considered within the conventions of courtly love.
Simonetta was a married woman. It is unlikely that they became lovers. Simonetta Vespucci died just one year most from tuberculosis, on the night of 26–27 April 1476, she was twenty-two at the time of her death. She was carried through the city in an open coffin for all to admire, there may have have existed a posthumous cult about her in Florence, her husband remarried soon afterward. Giuliano de Medici was assassinated in the Pazzi conspiracy in 1478, two years to the day after Simonetta's death. Among other subjects, Sandro Botticelli painted portraits of noblewomen, several of which are attributed as portraits of Simonetta, but proof is difficult to establish, it has been postulated that some of his works contain representations of her. He finished one of his most famous paintings, The Birth of Venus, around 1486, 10 years after Simonetta's death; this claim, however, is dismissed as a "romantic myth" by Ernst Gombrich, "romantic nonsense" by historian Felipe Fernández-Armesto: The vulgar assumption, for instance, that she was Botticelli's model for all his famous beauties seems to be based on no better grounds than the feeling that the most beautiful woman of the day ought to have modelled for the most sensitive painter.
Some art historians, including John Ruskin, suggest that Botticelli had fallen in love with Simonetta, a view supported by Botticelli's request to be buried in the Church of Ognissanti — the parish church of the Vespucci — in Florence. His wish was carried out when he died 34 years in 1510. However, this had been Botticelli's parish church since he was baptized there, the church contained works by him, he was buried with his family. Botticelli painted the standard carried by Giuliano at the joust in 1475, which carried an image of Pallas Athene, probably modeled on her. Botticelli's principal Medici patron, Giuliano's younger cousin Lorenzo di Pierfrancesco de' Medici, married Simonetta's niece Semiramide in 1482, it is that Botticelli's famed allegory Primavera was painted as a wedding gift for this occasion. Again, this is a work that some have claimed contains a representation of Simonetta. Regarding each Portrait of a Woman pictured above, credited to the workshop of Sandro Botticelli, Ronald Lightbown claims they were creations of Botticelli's workshop that were neither drawn nor painted by Botticelli himself.
Regarding these two paintings he notes that "shop...executed portraits of ninfe, or fair ladies...all fancy portraits of ideal beauties, rather than real ladies."Simonetta Vespucci may be depicted in the painting by Piero di Cosimo titled Portrait of a woman, said to be of Simonetta Vespucci, which portrays a woman as Cleopatra, with an asp around her neck. Yet how this rese
"Asp" is the modern Anglicisation of the word "aspis," which in antiquity referred to any one of several venomous snake species found in the Nile region. The specific epithet, aspis, is a Greek word that means "viper." It is believed. Throughout dynastic and Roman Egypt, the asp was a symbol of royalty. Moreover, in both Egypt and Greece, its potent venom made it useful as a means of execution for criminals who were thought deserving of a more dignified death than that of typical executions. In some stories of Perseus after killing Medusa, the hero used winged boots to transport her head to King Polydectes; as he was flying over Egypt, some of her blood fell to the ground which spawned asps and Amphisbaena. According to Plutarch, Cleopatra tested various deadly poisons on condemned people and concluded that the bite of the asp was the least terrible way to die; the asp is most famous for its alleged role in Cleopatra's suicide after Mark Antony killed himself by falling on his sword due to a false report of Cleopatra killing herself.
Some believe it to have been a horned viper, though in 2010, German historian Christoph Schaefer and toxicologist Dietrich Mebs, after extensive study into the event, came to the conclusion that rather than enticing a venomous animal to bite her, Cleopatra used a mixture of hemlock and opium to end her life. Nonetheless, the image of suicide-by-asp has become inextricably connected with Cleopatra, as immortalized by William Shakespeare: With thy sharp teeth this knot intrinsicate Of life at once untie: poor venomous fool Be angry, dispatch. —Cleopatra, Act V, scene II Antony and Cleopatra Othello famously compares his hatred for Desdemona as being full of "aspics' tongues" in Shakespeare's play Othello. Snakebite Vipera aspis Serpent
In ancient Roman religion and myth, Janus is the god of beginnings, transitions, duality, doorways and endings. He is depicted as having two faces, since he looks to the future and to the past, it is conventionally thought that the month of January is named for Janus, but according to ancient Roman farmers' almanacs Juno was the tutelary deity of the month. Janus presided over the beginning and ending of conflict, hence war and peace; the gates of a building in Rome named after him were opened in time of war, closed to mark the arrival of peace. As a god of transitions, he had functions pertaining to birth and to journeys and exchange, in his association with Portunus, a similar harbor and gateway god, he was concerned with travelling and shipping. Janus had no flamen or specialised priest assigned to him, but the King of the Sacred Rites himself carried out his ceremonies. Janus had an ubiquitous presence in religious ceremonies throughout the year; as such, Janus was ritually invoked at the beginning of each ceremony, regardless of the main deity honored on any particular occasion.
The ancient Greeks had no equivalent to Janus. Three etymologies were proposed by ancient erudites, each of them bearing implications about the nature of the god; the first one is based on the definition of Chaos given by Paul the Deacon: hiantem, hiare, be open, from which word Ianus would derive by loss of the initial aspirate. In this etymology, the notion of Chaos would define the primordial nature of the god. Another etymology proposed by Nigidius Figulus is related by Macrobius: Ianus would be Apollo and Diana Iana, by the addition of a D for the sake of euphony; this explanation has been accepted by A. B. Cook and J. G. Frazer, it supports all the assimilations of Janus to the sun and the moon. It supposes a former *Dianus, formed on *dia- < *dy-eð2 from Indo-European root *dey- shine represented in Latin by dies day and Iuppiter. However the form Dianus postulated by Nigidius is not attested. A third etymology indicated by Cicero and Macrobius, which explains the name as Latin, deriving it from the verb ire is based on the interpretation of Janus as the god of beginnings and transitions.
Modern scholars have conjectured that it derives from the Indo-European root meaning transitional movement. Iānus would be an action name expressing the idea of going, formed on the root *yā- < *y-eð2- theme II of the root *ey- go from which eō, ειμι. Other modern scholars object to an Indo-European etymology either from Dianus or from root *yā-. From Ianus derived ianua, hence the English word "janitor". While the fundamental nature of Janus is debated, in most modern scholars' view the god's functions may be seen as being organized around a single principle: presiding over all beginnings and transitions, whether abstract or concrete, sacred or profane. Interpretations concerning the god's fundamental nature either limit it to this general function or emphasize a concrete or particular aspect of it or else see in the god a sort of cosmological principle, interpreting him as a uranic deity. All of these modern explanations were formulated by the ancients, his function as god of beginnings has been expressed in numerous ancient sources, among them most notably Cicero and Varro.
As a god of motion, Janus looks after passages, causes actions to start and presides over all beginnings. Since movement and change are interconnected, he has a double nature, symbolised in his two headed image, he has under his tutelage the stepping in and out of the door of homes, the ianua, which took its name from him, not vice versa. His tutelage extends to the covered passages named iani and foremost to the gates of the city, including the cultic gate of the Argiletum, named Ianus Geminus or Porta Ianualis from which he protects Rome against the Sabines, he is present at the Sororium Tigillum, where he guards the terminus of the ways into Rome from Latium. He has an altar a temple near the Porta Carmentalis, where the road leading to Veii ended, as well as being present on the Janiculum, a gateway from Rome out to Etruria; the connection of the notions of beginning, movement and thence time was expressed by Cicero. In general, Janus is at the origin of time as the guardian of the gates of Heaven: Jupiter himself can move forth and back because of Janus's working.
In one of his temples that of Forum Holitorium, the hands of his statue were positioned to signify the number 355 365, symbolically expressing his mastership over time. He presides over the concrete and abstract beginnings of the world, such as religion and the gods themselves, he too holds the access to Heaven and to other gods: this is the reason why men must invoke him first, regardless of the god they want to pray to or placate, he is the initiator of human life, of new historical ages, financial enterprises: according to myth he was the first to mint coins and the as, first coin of the liberal series, bears his effigy on one face. Janus symbolized change and transitions such as the progress of past to future, from one condition to another, from one vision to another, young people's growth to adulthood, he represented time, because he could see in
Jan van Eyck
Jan van Eyck was a Flemish painter active in Bruges. He is one of the founders of Early Netherlandish painting and one of the most significant representatives of Early Northern Renaissance art; the few surviving records of his early life indicate that he was born around 1380–1390, most in Maaseik. He took employment in the Hague around 1422, when he was a master painter with workshop assistants, employed as painter and valet de chambre with John III the Pitiless, ruler of Holland and Hainaut, he was employed in Lille as court painter to Philip the Good, Duke of Burgundy after John's death in 1425, until he moved to Bruges in 1429 where he lived until his death. He was regarded by Philip and undertook a number of diplomatic visits abroad, including to Lisbon in 1428 to explore the possibility of a marriage contract between the duke and Isabella of Portugal. About 20 surviving paintings are confidently attributed to him, as well as the Ghent Altarpiece and the illuminated miniatures of the Turin-Milan Hours, all dated between 1432 and 1439.
Ten are dated and signed with a variation of his motto ALS IK KAN, a pun on his name, which he painted in Greek characters. Van Eyck painted both secular and religious subject matter, including altarpieces, single-panel religious figures and commissioned portraits, his work includes single panels, diptychs and polyptych panels. He was well paid by Philip, who sought that the painter was secure financially and had artistic freedom so that he could paint "whenever he pleased". Van Eyck's work comes from the International Gothic style, but he soon eclipsed it, in part through a greater emphasis on naturalism and realism, he achieved a new level of virtuosity through his developments in the use of oil paint. He was influential, his techniques and style were adopted and refined by the Early Netherlandish painters. Little is known of Jan van Eyck's early life and neither the date nor place of his birth is documented; the first extant record of his life comes from the court of John of Bavaria at The Hague where, between 1422 and 1424, payments were made to Meyster Jan den malre, a court painter with the rank of valet de chambre, with at first one and two assistants.
This suggests a date of birth of 1395 at the latest. However, his apparent age in the London probable self-portrait of 1433 suggests to most scholars a date closer to 1380, he was identified in the late 16th century as having been born in Maaseik, a borough of the prince-bishopric of Liège. His last name however is related to the place Bergeijk, due to genealogical information related to the coat-of-arms with three millrinds. Elisabeth Dhanens rediscovered in the quarterly state "the fatherly blazon, in gold, three millrinds of lauric acid", similar to other families that descend from the Lords of Rode in the quarter of Peelland in the'meierij van's-Hertogenbosch', his daughter Lievine was in a nunnery in Maaseik after her father's death. The notes on his preparatory drawing for Portrait of Cardinal Niccolò Albergati are written in the Maasland dialect, he had a sister Margareta, at least two brothers, with whom he served his apprenticeship and Lambert, both painters, but the order of their births has not been established.
Another significant, rather younger, painter who worked in Southern France, Barthélemy van Eyck, is presumed to be a relation. It is not known where Jan was educated, but he had knowledge of Latin and used the Greek and Hebrew alphabets in his inscriptions, indicating that he was schooled in the classics; this level of education was rare among painters, would have made him more attractive to the cultivated Philip. Van Eyck served as official to John of Bavaria-Straubing, ruler of Holland and Zeeland. By this time he had assembled a small workshop and was involved in redecorating the Binnenhof palace in The Hague. After John's death in 1425 he came to the attention of Philip the Good c. 1425. His emergence as a collectable painter follows his appointment to Philip's court, from this point his activity in the court is comparatively well documented, he served as court artist and diplomat, was a senior member of the Tournai painters' guild. On 18 October 1427, the Feast of St. Luke, he travelled to Tournai to attend a banquet in his honour attended by Robert Campin and Rogier van der Weyden.
A court salary freed him from commissioned work, allowed a large degree of artistic freedom. Over the following decade van Eyck's reputation and technical ability grew from his innovative approaches towards the handling and manipulating of oil paint. Unlike most of his peers his reputation never diminished and he remained well regarded over the following centuries, his revolutionary approach to oil was such that a myth, perpetuated by Giorgio Vasari, arose that he had invented oil painting. His brother Hubert van Eyck collaborated on Jan's most famous works, the Ghent Altarpiece art historians believe it was begun c. 1420 by Hubert and completed by Jan in 1432. Another brother, Lambert, is mentioned in Burgundian court documents, may have overseen his brother's workshop after Jan's death. Considered revolutionary within his lifetime, van Eyck's designs and methods were copied and reproduced, his motto, one of the first and still most distinctive signatures in art history, ALS IK KAN, a pun on his name, first appeared in 1433 on Portrait of a Man in a Turban, which can be seen as indicative of his emerging self-confidence at the time.