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No, Jan van Eyck did not invent oil paint, whatever was claimed until well into the 19th century. Yes, the still tube on his statue refers to it, yet it is not true. By the way, did you know that Jan van Eyck has two statues in Bruges?
Hundreds of books have been written about Jan van Eyck and yet that man remains a real mystery. Where and when did he see the light of day? Who was his family? Where was he trained? No written proof anywhere. It is quite a puzzle, but From oak to panel can unravel that mystery a bit.
What is certain is that Jan worked for Philip the Good, the Duke of Burgundy who made grand in Bruges in the 15th century. Jan has made a number of trips for him. There is written proof. Destination? Secret! Was Jan van Eyck a spy after all? Also what his further works for the duke over the years are… a mystery.
What is certain is that Jan lived and worked in Bruges for the last ten years of his life. There is written proof. We even know where in Bruges he painted all the paintings assigned to him today, including the Ghent Altarpiece. Of course, the people from Ghent will not like to hear this.
Jan van Eyck has left his mark in Bruges. His canon Van der Paele worships the baby Jesus in the Groeninge Museum, where the portrait of his Margaret is also on display. Jan painted six statues of the City Hall. Even the design of the choir stalls in the cathedral is said to be his.
Without a trace
Jan was also buried in Bruges, even twice. It is in writing. However, his tomb has disappeared. The fault of the French who occupied Bruges at the end of the 18th century and who then also kidnapped his Bruges paintings to Paris. Fortunately, they returned when Napoleon bit the sand in Waterloo. Unfortunately, the location of his remains is ... a mystery.
Van Eyck to panel
Would you like to meet Jan van Eyck and really get to know him? Then book your walk From oak to panel. Jan van Eyck in Bruges at S-wan.