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Jan van Eyck: Crucifixion and Last Jugdment

Jan van Eyck 1390 – 1441

Crucifixion and Last Jugdment

oil on panel (56 × 20 cm each) — c. 1426 Museum Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

Jan van Eyck biography

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The two panels may have been the wings of a triptych, but there is no certainty about that. In the 19th century the paintings were transfered from panel to canvas.

Three parts can be distinguished in the Crucifixion. The foreground shows weeping women. Under the crosses Van Eyck created a vivid scene with soldiers and others. In the top part the three crucified men are shown.

Perhaps the most remarkable part of the Crucifixion is the astonishing depth of the landscape behind the crosses. Van Eyck applied a splendid spatial perspective.

A vertical axis is the key to the composition of the Last Judgment: Christ as judge at the top, and archangel Michael controlling the underworld.

Next to Jesus are the virgin Mary and John the Baptist. They seem to float above the chosen, the dead that were allowed into Heaven.

No daylight enters the underworld where the doomed dwell for ever. It looks as if the dead enter Hell through the skeleton of Death.

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Title: Jan van Eyck: Crucifixion and Last Jugdment
Author / citation: here
First published: 27 September 2005
Last modified: 10 January 2010