Facebook Crosspost: 2020-May-19

Looking for inspiration for your “Portraits of the Pandemic” exhibition submission? What about some inspiration from art history?

Featured Historic Self Portrait: Jan Van Eyck

Early Netherlandish painter Jan van Eyck’s “Portrait of a Man in a Turban” is regarded as the earliest known self-portrait. Like many things in art history, this view is not unanimous. The inscription at the top of the frame has been cited as strong evidence in favor of the attribution. It reads “Als Ich Can” (as I/Eyck can) which is a pun on the painter’s name.

Van Eyck painted both secular and religious work. He was an in-demand portrait painter of the emerging merchant class, known for his manipulation of oil paint, meticulous attention to detail and keen powers of observation. Van Eyck apparently depicted himself in two other works; he seems to be reflected in the mirror in the “Arnolfini Portrait” and in Saint George’s armor, in his helm and on the shield of St George in “The Madonna Of Cannon Van Der Paele”.

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