|The fragile works of one of Europe’s most brilliant painters, Jan van Eyck (Maaseik? c.1390 – Bruges 1441), have came to Rotterdam from all over Europe and the United States. |
Very few paintings from the period around 1400 have survived. Art from the Low Countries from this period is especially scarce due to the iconoclastic attacks of the Reformation. ‘The Road to Van Eyck’ provides an overview of painting from 1390 to 1430 in the Netherlands, Flanders, Burgundy, Paris and parts of modern Germany.
The core of the more than ninety masterpieces by Dutch, Flemish, French and German artists around 1400 on view comprises panel paintings, complemented by a small by high-quality selection of sculptures, metalwork, illuminated manuscripts and drawings. The highlight of the exhibition is a small group of paintings by Van Eyck and artists from his circle, including the restored The Three Marys at the Tomb.
The exhibits also include small sculptures by Jacques de Baerze and Claus de Werve from the tomb of Philip the Bold, Duke of Burgundy, and an important selection of works by Van Eyck such as ‘Saint Barbara’ from Antwerp, the Annunciation from Washington and the restored The Three Marys at the Tomb from the collector of Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen. Several important works, including Malouel’s Madonna and Child with Angels are being lent by the Gemäldegalerie in Berlin, partner in this project. The famous Norfolk Triptych from the museum’s own collection, a key work from the pre-Van Eyck period, is also on view.
The art of the period from around 1390 to 1430 is therefore referred to as ‘International Gothic’. Princes and other local rulers responsible for the most prestigious commissions were in constant contact with each other. The large centres of international trade, such as Paris, Amsterdam and Cologne, also contributed to the exchange of ideas and objects. Artistic ideas, model books, art works and artists travelled extensively throughout Europe. For this reason, it is often impossible to determine whether a work was made in the Low Countries, France or Germany.
The exhibition is accompanied by a richly illustrated catalogue, edited by the exhibition’s curators: Friso Lammertse, curator at Museum Boijmans, and Stefan Kemperdick, curator at the Gemäldegalerie in Berlin.
This is the first and – due to the fragility of the works – probably the last time that an exhibition on this subject will be held.
Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen Website