The Ghent Altarpiece- Favorite Art Things

The Ghent Altarpiece, a polyptych (meaning many parts) by the van Eyck brothers in Flanders in 1432, is one of the most beautiful works of art ever created by human hands. It’s done with multiple layers of glazes and oils, and is so amazingly detailed that I’m surprised Art Google hasn’t had it photographed with their amazing cameras yet!

This is a perfect example of detailed 15th century Flemish art, full of symbolism, detail, and obvious care for the shadows and layers that the artists composed. I’m not religious at all, but this work is so incredible that even agnostics like me can’t ignore the sheer beauty and quality put into the Altarpiece! I’ve complied many detail images, please enjoy and revel in the amazing skill of the van Eyck brothers!

Polyptych closed.

Polyptych open- full glory!

Angels expressions- seriously amazing detail of the jewels and brocades.

The Virgin Mary, resplendent in jewels, piously reading a book.

Detail of an angel’s sleeve.

Detail of the crown in the Altarpiece

Eve in her nakedness- she and Adam are a severe, stark contrast to the richy robed angels, saints, and virgins in the rest of the polyptich- meant to make the viewer feel uncomfortable and see how sin strips one bare. (Of course, Eve’s “sin” was seeking intelligence, and after that women are forever stereotyped as the unintelligent ones? Come on!)

This is the last detail- I wish I could find some of the actual background of Ghent- you can literally see the church where this was kept! So beautiful!

Thinking that this was made 500+ years ago blows my mind, and makes me appreciate the skill and hard work that went into this altarpiece. I hope you are in as much awe as I!


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