Jan van Eyck 1390 – 1441

Vera Icon

oil on panel (33 × 27 cm) — 1440 Museum Alte Pinakothek, Munich

Jan van Eyck biography

This work is linked to Luke 11:2

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Tags: Jesus

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Oak panel. Size including the frame: 50 x 37 cm.

It bears the title Vera Icon, Latin for the true face.

On the frame are two texts. On the top is VIA VERITAS VITA: I am the road, the truth and life. The bottom text reads PRIMVS ET NOVISSIM(us): the first and the last.

On the collar are texts written in the Hebrew, Greek and Roman alphabets. In Hebrew it says אֲדֹנָי (Adonai, Lord). In Greek is ΕλωΥ (Eloy, God). The letters AGLA are for the Hebrew text Atah Gibor Le-olam Adonai: You, oh Lord, are eternally powerful.

For centuries this panel was kept in the church of St Servatius in Maastricht. It came in the possession of the Bavarian king Ludwig in 1827. He put it in the Alte Pinakothek. There is a similar panel in Berlin. Both panels are probably copies of lost originals. Another copy, probably made in the 17th century is in Bruges.

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