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Unknown and Rare Van Eyck-era Old Master Painting to be Exhibited in Rotterdam

August 25, 2012

Triptych with the Embalming of the Body of Christ and St Anthony Panel, Bruges c. 1410, 40 x 70 cm. Private collection (click to enlarge).

According to Art Daily: “An unknown triptych that dates back some six centuries is to appear in ‘The Road to Van Eyck’ exhibition. Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen will have the opportunity to include this work, one of the highlights of pre-Eyckian panel painting in the Low Countries, in the presentation.”

This is an exhibition I really want to see!

The Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen has additional information:

In the autumn of 2012, the extremely valuable and fragile works of one of Europe’s most brilliant painters, Jan van Eyck (Maaseik? c.1390 – Bruges 1441), are coming to Rotterdam from all over Europe and the United States. Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen is showing the paintings of this artist, long considered the father of oil painting along side other masterpieces from other artist of this period.

But let’s get back to the image at top:

The embalming of Christ in the triptych’s central panel is a scene that is rarely depicted. According to international art experts the work was painted circa 1410 by an unknown artist in Bruges. There are just 20 to 30 extant paintings that were executed in the Netherlands during this period. Comparison with pre-Eyckian drawings and with miniatures from breviaries, as well as the way in which the embalming is depicted, have left international art experts with little doubt about the work’s provenance. The triptych may have been created for a hospital, as St Anthony is called on to intercede for the sick and was the patron saint of many infirmaries. The painting is in good overall condition, but the image of Christ has suffered, probably because of the faithful constantly touching it in reverence.

‘It is highly unusual that a totally unknown painting from this period should crop up,’ says curator Friso Lammertse. ‘It is, moreover, of an exceptionally high quality. The right-hand panel with John the Baptist ranks among the most beautiful Netherlandish paintings from circa 1400 that is still extant.’

The ‘The Road to Van Eyck’ exhibition will feature some 90 works.

Jan and/or Hubert van Eyck, The three Marys at the Tomb, oil on panel, 1425-1435, acquired with the collection of D.G. van Beuningen 1958

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