1390 - 1441

Portrait of Jan Van Eyck


Jan Van Eyck was one of the most influential people in his time.


No one ever knew when Jan was born. They think it must have been around the 1390's. Jan died in 1441 and was buried on July 9, that year.

Jan Van Eyck was Dutch. He was born in the province of Limberg, in the region between the Netherlands and what is now called Belgium.

Jan had an older brother named Hubert Van Eyck, who was also an artist. The brothers often worked together; sometimes Hubert would start a painting and Jan would finish it.

Jan worked for Phillip the Good and the Duke of Borgonga.


Jan Van Eyck completed fifteen paintings in sixty-one years.

Jan Van Eyck's most famous painting was Giovanni Arnolfini and his Bride, (painted in 1434).

The Ghent Altarpiece was started by his brother, Hubert Van Eyck, in 1425 (years before he died), then finished by Jan seven years later.

In The Last Judgement Jan and Hubert had to use their imagination. To them the painting meant "The end of time when the dead rise from their graves and are judged."

Another one of Jan's finest paintings was Man In Red Turban (painted in 1433). The sitter could have been Jan himself because there was a slight strain in the eyes as though he were looking into a mirror.

Jan Van Eyck perfected the newly discovered technique of oil painting. Jan also discovered many limitless effects possible with it. It was known that Jan was capable of expressing any emotion in his art.


Jan Van Eyck was one of the first painters to use one layer of tempra and then a layer of oil.

The Madonna of Chancellor Rolin


1. Cumming, Robert. Annotated Art. Italy, Canadian Cataloguing in Publication, 1995, p. 14.

2. [http://www.affari.com/televisual/uffizi/j_eyck.html]. "Jan Van Eyck."

3. Jason, H.W. History of Art for Young people. Japan, Harry N. Adams, Inc., 1971, pp.148-150.

4. Stone-ferrier Linda. The World Book Encyclopedia Chicago, World Book Inc,1994, p.306.

5. Tinkler, Michael C. [http://www.knight.org/advent/cathen/05732a.htm]. "Hubert and Jan Van Eyck." 1996.

This page was prepared by Arlena and Karla, Grade 8, Riverdale Junior Secondary School.