Early Netherlandish painting
Early Netherlandish painting is the work of artists, sometimes known as the Flemish Primitives, active in the Burgundian and Habsburg Netherlands during the 15th- and 16th-century Northern Renaissance in the flourishing cities of Bruges, Mechelen, Louvain and Brussels, all in present-day Belgium. The period begins with Robert Campin and Jan van Eyck in the 1420s and lasts at least until the death of Gerard David in 1523, although many scholars extend it to the start of the Dutch Revolt in 1566 or 1568. Early Netherlandish painting coincides with the Early and High Italian Renaissance but the early period is seen as an independent artistic evolution, separate from the Renaissance humanism that characterised developments in Italy, although beginning in the 1490s as increasing numbers of Netherlandish and other Northern painters traveled to Italy, Renaissance ideals and painting styles were incorporated into Netherlandish and other Northern painting; as a result, Early Netherlandish painters are categorised as belonging to both the Northern Renaissance and the Late or International Gothic.
The major Netherlandish painters include Campin, van Eyck, Rogier van der Weyden, Dieric Bouts, Petrus Christus, Hans Memling, Hugo van der Goes and Hieronymus Bosch. These artists made significant advances in natural representation and illusionism, their work features complex iconography, their subjects are religious scenes or small portraits, with narrative painting or mythological subjects being rare. Landscape is richly described but relegated as a background detail before the early 16th century; the painted works are oil on panel, either as single works or more complex portable or fixed altarpieces in the form of diptychs, triptychs or polyptychs. The period is noted for its sculpture, illuminated manuscripts, stained glass and carved retables; the first generations of artists were active during the height of Burgundian influence in Europe, when the Low Countries became the political and economic centre of Northern Europe, noted for its crafts and luxury goods. Assisted by the workshop system, panels and a variety of crafts were sold to foreign princes or merchants through private engagement or market stalls.
A majority of the works were destroyed during waves of iconoclasm in the 17th centuries. Early northern art in general was not well regarded from the early 17th to the mid-19th century, the painters and their works were not well documented until the mid-19th century. Art historians spent another century determining attributions, studying iconography, establishing bare outlines of the major artists' lives. Attribution of some of the most significant works is still debated. Scholarship of Early Netherlandish painting was one of the main activities of 19th- and 20th-century art history, a major focus of two of the most important art historians of the 20th century: Max J. Friedländer and Erwin Panofsky; the term "Early Netherlandish art" applies broadly to painters active during the 15th and 16th centuries in the northern European areas controlled by the Dukes of Burgundy and the Habsburg dynasty. These artists became an early driving force behind the Northern Renaissance and the move away from the Gothic style.
In this political and art-historical context, the north follows the Burgundian lands which straddled areas that encompass parts of modern France, Germany and the Netherlands. The Netherlandish artists have been known by a variety of terms. "Late Gothic" is an early designation. In the early 20th century, the artists were variously referred to in English as the "Ghent-Bruges school" or the "Old Netherlandish school". "Flemish Primitives" is a traditional art-historical term borrowed from the French primitifs flamands that became popular after the famous exhibition in Bruges in 1902 and remains in use today in Dutch and German. In this context, "primitive" does not refer to a perceived lack of sophistication, but rather identifies the artists as originators of a new tradition in painting. Erwin Panofsky preferred the term ars nova, which linked the movement with innovative composers of music such as Guillaume Dufay and Gilles Binchois, who were favoured by the Burgundian court over artists attached to the lavish French court.
When the Burgundian dukes established centres of power in the Netherlands, they brought with them a more cosmopolitan outlook. According to Otto Pächt a simultaneous shift in art began sometime between 1406 and 1420 when a "revolution took place in painting". In the 19th century the Early Netherlandish artists were classified by nationality, with Jan van Eyck identified as German and van der Weyden as French. Scholars were at times preoccupied as to whether the school's genesis was in Germany; these arguments and distinctions dissipated after World War I, following the leads of Friedländer, Pächt, English-language scholars now universally describe the period as "Early Netherlandish painting", although many art historians view the Flemish term as more correct. In the 14th century, as Gothic art gave way to the International Gothic era, a number of schools developed in northern Europe. Early Netherlandish art originated in French courtly art, is tied to the tradition and conventions of illuminated manuscripts.
Modern art historians see
Virgin and Child with Canon van der Paele
The Virgin and Child with Canon van der Paele is a large oil-on-oak panel painting completed around 1434–36 by the Early Netherlandish painter Jan van Eyck. It shows Joris van der Paele, within an apparition of saints; the Virgin Mary is enthroned at the centre of the semicircular space, which most represents a church interior, with the Christ Child on her lap. St. Donatian stands to Saint George -- the donor's name saint -- to her left; the panel was commissioned by van der Paele as an altarpiece. He was a wealthy clergyman from Bruges, but elderly and gravely ill, intended the work as his memorial; the saints are identifiable from Latin inscriptions lining the borders of the imitation bronze frame, original. Van der Paele is identifiable from historical records, he is dressed in the finery of a medieval canon, including white surplice, as he piously reads from a book of hours. He is presented to Mary by Saint George, his name saint, who holds aloft his metal helmet in respect. Saint Donatian, dressed in brightly coloured vestments, stands to the left.
The panel is noted for the finery of clothing, including exquisite representations of furs and brocades, the elaborate and detailed religious iconography. The Virgin's throne is decorated with carved representations of Adam and Eve, prefigurations of the Crucifixion and Resurrection of Jesus, scenes from the Old Testament; the painting is lined with a series of inscriptions which comment on the saints, include van Eyck's signature. The van der Paele panel is considered one of van Eyck's most realised and ambitious works, has been described as a "masterpiece of masterpieces". Van der Paele is identifiable both from his resemblance and by the paternal and maternal coat of arms at the corners of each frame, he was born in Bruges around 1370, spent his early career as a papal scribe in Rome before returning to his native city in 1425 as a wealthy man. He was appointed to a canonry of St. Donatian's collegiate church, a position which gave him income from the various parishes under his remit. An illness around 1431 left van der Paele unable to fulfil the functions of his office, led him to reflect upon his position as canon and on his mortality.
In response he commissioned this work from van Eyck. The artist was at the height of his fame and in high demand, this, along with the large size of the panel, meant that the commission took a lot longer to complete than was envisioned. In return for the bequest, the church granted the canon a requiem mass, a daily mass and three votive masses a week, meant to intercede with the divine on his behalf. A second chaplaincy in 1443 centred on prayers for his family, guaranteed that after his death, the requiem mass would end with readings of the Miserere mei and De profundis. Van der Paele may have kept the panel as a church altar, he donated it to the church either in 1436 or on his death in 1443. Most the work was situated in the nave as an accompaniment to an altar for Saints Peter and Paul and used for memorial masses for van der Paele and his family, it was installed on the main altar after the Iconoclasm of 1566. An inscription on the lower imitation frame refers to der Paele's benefaction: "Joris van der Paele, canon of this church, had this work made by painter Jan van Eyck.
And he founded two chaplaincies here in the choir of the Lord. 2025. He only completed it in 1436, however." The Virgin and Child is set in a rounded church with side ambulatories, with Mary occupying the area where the altarpiece would be positioned. The panel has an overall sculptural look. After the "Adoration of the Mystic Lamb" panel of the Ghent Altarpiece, it is van Eyck's second largest extant painting, the only one in a horizontal framing; the Virgin and Child is characterised by its innovative use of illusionism and complex spatial composition. It is in its original oak frame, which contains several Latin inscriptions, including van Eyck's signature, the date of completion, the donor's name, texts related to St. George and St. Donatian; the upper border contains phrases from the Book of Wisdom, comparing Mary to an "unspotted mirror". The figures, the minutely detailed clothes, the architecture of the room and windows are depicted with a high degree of realism. Van Eyck's mastery at handling oil can be seen in the differing breadths of brush strokes.
The precision of the detail achieved is noticeable in the rendering of threads of St. Donatian's blue and golden embroidered cope and mitre, in the weave of the oriental carpet, in the stubble and veins on van der Paele's aging face; as with van Eyck's Madonna of Chancellor Rolin, the panel creates an intimate setting between the donor and Virgin. This is emphasised by the donor's physical proximity to the Virgin which, according to art historian Jeffrey Chipps Smith, "mentally and pictorially the barriers between heaven and earth" and implies the "patrons are visually immortalized as meriting the Virgin and Child's personal attention." The intimacy is further enhanced by small details such as the overlap between the donor and Saint George, who casts a shadow on van der Paele and seems to have accidentally stepped on his surplice as he leans forward to introduce the canon to the Virgin. St. Donatian is positioned to the left of the Virgin, the more significant position in heraldic terms, reflective of his status as dedicatee of the cathedral the painting w
Madonna of Jan Vos
The Madonna of Jan Vos is a small oil panel painting begun by the Early Netherlandish artist Jan van Eyck c. 1441 and finished by his workshop after his death in 1442. As he died during its completion, it is considered to be his last work; the panel was commissioned by Jan Vos, who, in March 1441, took office near Bruges as prior of a Carthusian Monastery, the earliest date that he could have instructed van Eyck. Art historians agree that van Eyck is responsible for painting the central Madonna and Child, conceiving the overall design, while the ancillary figures and details of the background were completed c 1443 by a member of his workshop who borrowed from earlier van Eyck paintings, it was acquired in 1954 by New York. Mary stands in majesty, standing on an oriental carpet. Around her are Saint Barbara, standing before the tower in which she was prisoned, Saint Elizabeth of Hungary dressed in a nun's habit, the donor Jan Vos, depicted as a Carthusian monk kneeling in prayer. A statue of the deity Mars can be seen through the window of Barbara's tower.
Vos' pose and modeling resembles the donors in both van Eyck's portraits of Nicolas Rolin in the Madonna of Chancellor Rolin and Joris van der Paele in the Virgin and Child with Canon van der Paele. This fact, the similarity of the landscape to that in a number of his earlier portraits has led to a general consensus among art historians that aspects of the panel are a pastiche of van Eyckian motifs, that the painting was finished by a talented workshop member. Evidence suggests that the passages by van Eyck hand are around the central Virgin and Child; the figures are positioned in an exterior loggia bounded by a series of arcades, before an expansive and van Eyckian landscape. Painted inscriptions woven into the canopy read AVE GRA PLEA. Art historians have attempted to identify both the city and cathedral, but as with most of van Eyck's backgrounds, they are imaginary. Petrus Christus's Exeter Madonna was commissioned by Vos, after 1450, when Eyck's workshop had ceased operation, it can be viewed as an interpretation of the van Eyck, rather than a close copy, borrows from van Eyck's now lost Madonna of Nicolas van Maelbeke.
The painting is referenced in Margaret Campbell Barnes' historical novel "My Lady of Cleves". As depicted in the book, about a century after it was painted the picture and its artistic merits are discussed by painter Hans Holbein and Anne of Cleeves, about to become Queen of England
Portrait of Giovanni di Nicolao Arnolfini
Portrait of Giovanni di Nicolao Arnolfini is a small c. 1438 portrait by Jan van Eyck believed to be the same person as in the famous 1434 Arnolfini Portrait due to the similarities of facial features. Thus, the work is van Eyck's second portrait of Giovanni di Nicolao Arnolfini, a wealthy merchant from Lucca, a city in Tuscany in central Italy, who spent most of his life in Flanders; the painting was long thought a self-portrait. It was only that the current work was associated with Arnolfini and the double marriage painting, it is today in the Berlin. Arnolfini wears a dark green gown, with dark brown fur lining, he wears a red chaperon with cornette tied with the patte hanging behind. The bourrelet is twisted, he is depicted with exacting realism. He has small oriental eyes, a large nose and an inscrutable stare; the meaning and significance of the scroll held in his left hand is unknown. It may relate to finance and trade, it might be a type of international credit note, just being introduced to European banking.
Arnolfini's folded, but now lost, frame. As with van Eyck's other single head portraits, the frame would have contained inscriptions giving the date of completion. Opinion as to the date of the painting has varied, with the dates ranging from 1434 to 1438. Today the date is accepted; that van Eyck painted two portraits of Arnolfini has led to speculation he was a friend of the artist. For many years the two works were not associated, the identity of the sitters was unknown; the London double portrait was taken as a portrait of the artist and his wife, Margaret. In 1857, Crowe and Cavalcaselle linked the London double portrait with the early 16th century inventories of Margaret of Austria, established the sitters as Giovanni Arnolfini and his wife, Giovanna Cenami
Burial of Jesus
The burial of Jesus refers to the burial of the body of Jesus after crucifixion, described in the New Testament. According to the canonical gospel accounts, he was placed in a tomb by a man named Joseph of Arimathea. In art, it is called the Entombment of Christ; the earliest reference to the burial of Jesus is in a letter of Paul. Writing to the Corinthians around the year 54 AD, he refers to the account he had received of the death and resurrection of Jesus; the four canonical gospels, written between 66 and 95AD, all conclude with an extended narrative of Jesus' arrest, crucifixion and resurrection. All four state that, on the evening of the Crucifixion, Joseph of Arimathea asked Pilate for the body, after Pilate granted his request, he wrapped it in a linen cloth and laid it in a tomb. There are significant differences between the four accounts, recording the evolution of the tradition from the earliest gospel to the last. Modern scholarship tends to see the gospel accounts as contradictory, finds the Mark portrayal more probable.
In the earliest of the gospels, the Gospel of Mark, written around 70AD, Joseph of Arimathea is a member of the Jewish Council – the Sanhedrin which had condemned Jesus – who wishes to ensure that the corpse is buried in accordance with Jewish law, according to which dead bodies could not be left exposed overnight. He lays it in a tomb carved into the rock; the Jewish historian Josephus, writing in the century, described how the Jews regarded this law as so important that the bodies of crucified criminals would be taken down and buried before sunset. In this account, Joseph does only the bare minimum needed for observance of the law, wrapping the body in a cloth, with no mention of washing or anointing it; this may explain why Mark has a story prior to the Crucifixion, in which a woman pours perfume over Jesus: Jesus is thereby prepared for burial before his death. The Gospel of Matthew was written around the year 90, using the Gospel of Mark as a source. In this account Joseph of Arimathea is not referenced as a member of the Sanhedrin, but a wealthy disciple of Jesus.
Many interpreters have read this as a subtle orientation by the author towards wealthy supporters, while others believe this is a fulfillment of prophecy from Isaiah 53:9: "And they made his grave with the wicked, And with the rich his tomb. This version suggests a more honourable burial: Joseph wraps the body in a clean shroud and places it in his own tomb, the word used is soma rather than ptoma; the author adds that the Roman authorities "made the tomb secure by putting a seal on the stone and posting the guard." This detail may have been added to answer claims by contemporary opponents that the followers of Jesus had stolen his body. The Gospel of Mark is a source for the account given in the Gospel of Luke, written around the year 90; as in the Markan version, Joseph is described as a member of the Sanhedrin, but as not having agreed with the Sanhedrin's decision regarding Jesus. The last of the gospels, differs from Mark on this point, depicting Joseph as a disciple who gives Jesus an honourable burial.
John says that Joseph was assisted in the burial process by Nicodemus, who brought a mixture of myrrh and aloes and included these spices in the burial cloth according to Jewish customs. By touching a dead body, both men were knowingly willing to make themselves "unclean" for seven days per the law stated in Numbers 19:11. N. T. Wright notes. John A. T. Robinson states that the burial of Jesus in the tomb is one of the earliest and best-attested facts about Jesus." Rudolf Bultmann described the basic story as'a historical account which creates no impression of being a legend'. John Dominic Crossan, suggests that Jesus' body was eaten by dogs as it hung on the cross so that there was nothing left to bury. Martin Hengel argued that Jesus was buried in disgrace as an executed criminal who died a shameful death, a view accepted in scholarly literature. Paul the Apostle includes the burial in his statement of the gospel in verses 3 and 4 of 1 Corinthians 15: "For I delivered unto you first of all that which I received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures.
This appears to be an early pre-Pauline credal statement. The burial of Christ is mentioned in the Apostles' Creed, where it says that Jesus was "crucified and buried." The Heidelberg Catechism asks "Why was he buried?" and gives the answer "His burial testified that He had died." The Catechism of the Catholic Church states that, "It is the mystery of Holy Saturday, when Christ, lying in the tomb, reveals God's great sabbath rest after the fulfillment of man's salvation, which brings peace to the whole universe" and that "Christ's stay in the tomb constitutes the real link between his passible state before Easter and his glorious and risen state today." The Entombment of Christ has been a popular subject in art, being developed in Western Europe in the 10th century. It appears in cycles of the Life of Christ, where it follows the Deposition of Christ or the Lamentation of Christ. Since the Renaissance, it has sometimes been conflated with one of these. Notable individual works with articles include: The Entombment The Deposition The Entombment T
Crucifixion and Last Judgement diptych
The Crucifixion and Last Judgement diptych consists of two small painted panels attributed to the Early Netherlandish artist Jan van Eyck, with areas finished by unidentified followers or members of his workshop. This diptych is one of the early Northern Renaissance oil on panel masterpieces, renowned for its unusually complex and detailed iconography, for the technical skill evident in its completion, it was executed in a miniature format. The diptych was commissioned for private devotion; the left-hand wing depicts the Crucifixion. It shows Christ's followers grieving in the foreground and spectators milling about in the mid-ground and a portrayal of three crucified bodies in the upper-ground; the scene is framed against an azure sky with a view of Jerusalem in the distance. The right-hand wing portrays scenes associated with the Last Judgement: a hellscape at its base, the resurrected awaiting judgement in the centre-ground, a representation of Christ in Majesty flanked by a Great Deësis of saints, clergy and nobility in the upper section.
Portions of the work contain Greek and Hebrew inscriptions. The original gilt frames contain Biblical passages in Latin drawn from the books of Isaiah and Revelation. According to a date written in Russian on their reverse, the panels were transferred to canvas supports in 1867; the earliest surviving mention of the work appears in 1841, when scholars believed the two panels were wings of a lost triptych. The Metropolitan Museum of Art acquired the diptych in 1933. At that time, the work was attributed to Jan's brother Hubert because key areas formally resembled pages of the Turin-Milan Hours, which were believed to be of Hubert's hand. On the evidence of technique and the style of dress of the figures, the majority of scholars believe the panels are late works by Jan van Eyck, executed in the early 1430s and finished after his death. Other art historians hold that van Eyck painted the panels around the early 1420s and attribute the weaker passages to a younger van Eyck's relative inexperience.
Along with Robert Campin and Rogier van der Weyden, Van Eyck revolutionised the approach towards naturalism and realism in Northern European painting during the early to mid 15th century. He was the first to manipulate oils to give the close detailing that infused his figures with the high degree of realism and complexity of emotion seen in this diptych, he coupled this with a mastery of glaze to create luminous surfaces with a deep perspective—most noticeable in the upper portion of the Crucifixion panel—which had not been achieved before. In the 1420s and 1430s, when oil and panel painting were still in their infancy, vertical formats were used for depictions of the Last Judgement, because the narrow framing suited a hierarchical presentation of heaven and hell. By contrast, depictions of the Crucifixion were presented in a horizontal format. To fit such expansive and detailed representations onto two small and narrow wings, van Eyck was forced to make a number of innovations, redesigning many elements of the Crucifixion panel to match the vertical and condensed presentation of the Judgement narrative.
The result is a panel with the crosses rising high into the sky, an unusually packed crowd scene in the mid-ground, the moving spectacle of the mourners in the foreground, all rendered in a continuous slope from bottom to top in the style of medieval tapestries. Art historian Otto Pächt says it "is the whole world in one painting, an Orbis Pictus". In the Crucifixion panel, van Eyck follows the early 14th-century tradition of presenting the biblical episodes using a narrative technique. According to art historian Jeffrey Chipps Smith, the episodes appear as "simultaneous, not sequential" events. Van Eyck condenses key episodes from the gospels into a single composition, each placed so as to draw the viewer's eye upward in a logical sequence; this device allowed van Eyck to create a greater illusion of depth with more complex and unusual spatial arrangements. In the Crucifixion panel, he uses different indicators to show the relative closeness of particular groupings of figures to Jesus. Given the size of the mourners in the foreground relative to the crucified figures, the soldiers and spectators gathered in the mid-ground are far larger than a strict adherence to perspective would allow.
In the Last Judgement the damned are placed in hell in the lower mid-ground while the saints and angels are positioned higher in the upper foreground. Pächt writes of this panel that the scene is "assimilated into a single spatial cosmos", with the archangel acting as a divider in the pictorial space between heaven and hell. Art historians are unsure as to whether the panels were meant to be a triptych, they may have formed the outer wings of a triptych, with a since-lost panel representing the Adoration of the Magi at the centre, or, as the German art historian J. D. Passavant speculated in 1841, the lost centre panel may have been a Nativity, it is now thought unlikely that a lost panel could be the postulated original companion to the outer wings. It has been proposed that a central piece was added or as Albert Châtelet writes, the central panel may have been stolen. Art historian Erwin Panofsky believed the Crucifixion and Last Judgement panels were intended as a diptych, he argued that it would have been unusual for mere outer wings to have been given the "sumptuous treatment" afforded these two panels.
This approach is reminiscent of the medieval reliquaries. Others have observed that triptychs were much larger works
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.