1400 – 1500
Renaissance in Italy & the North

Hubert (?) and Jan van Eyck's Ghent Altarpiece (closed) or The Adoration of the Mystic Lamb

Part 1 - The Ghent Altarpiece Closed

We discuss the open Ghent Altarpiece on the next page.

Jan (and Hubert?) Van Eyck, Ghent Altarpiece or The Adoration of the Mystic Lamb, 1432, tempera and oil on panel, 11' 5" x 7' 3" (closed) (Cathedral of Saint Bavo, Ghent, Belgium)


One of the greatest masterpieces of the Northern Renaissance is the Ghent Altarpiece by Jan Van Eyck. Van Eyck worked for Philip the Good, the Duke of Brugundy, as well as other patrons. This painting was commissioned by Joos Vyd, one of the richest businessmen in Flanders. Today, the altarpiece can be seen in the Cathedral of Saint Bavo, Ghent (though in a different location inside the Cathedral). 

Like the Merode Altarpiece, the Ghent Altarpiece opens and closes. But unlike the Merode Altarpiece this is more than three paintings (a triptych), it has many panels, and so it is called a polypych (the prefix poly means many). It would open on Feast Days and Holidays, and otherwise remained closed. There are paintings to see either way, but of course its much more fabulous when it is opened.

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Where and When

Van Eyck<br>Ghent Altarpiece (closed)
Ghent, Flanders
(now Belgium), 1432
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