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Jan van Eyck: The Ghent altarpiece: Adoration of the Lamb

Jan van Eyck 1390 – 1441

The Ghent altarpiece: Adoration of the Lamb

oil on panel (138 × 242 cm) — 1432 Museum Saint Bavo Cathedral, Ghent

Jan van Eyck biography

This work is linked to Revelation 5:6

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Central panel of the most famous work of art by the Van Eyck brothers.

On the foreground to the left, a procession of figures from the Old Testament. Prophets are holding books and some patriarchs are carrying attributes of Jewish feasts. Apostles kneel to the right. Behind them, the Church authorities. Between the groups, a fountain - symbol of eternal life.

Angels adore the lamb. Four of them carry symbols from the Passion: the cross, the spear used to pierce the side of Christ, the spear that held the sponge with vinegar, and the pillar of the flagellation. The blood is caught in a grail.

The groups approaching from the background are, on the left, martyrs, and, on the right, virgins. The pigeon in the top of the painting represents the Holy Spirit, shining light on all who are gathered.

For more information, see The Lamb of God.

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Title: Jan van Eyck: The Ghent altarpiece: Adoration of the Lamb
Author / citation: here
First published: 27 September 2005
Last modified: 29 February 2012