February 15 – The Ghent Altarpiece of John and Hubert van Eyck

Depicting Nobility and Family in the Late Medieval Low Countries 

February 15, 2015 at 3 P.M. 

Few works of art are as enigmatic as the famous Ghent Altarpiece of the brothers Hubert and John van Eyck, painted in the early fifteenth century at the commission of Jodocus Vyd, one of the wealthiest men of late medieval Flanders. Situated in Vyd’s private chapel in Ghent’s largest church, it became already in the fifteenth century a popular tourist attraction. To this day, visitors marvel not only at the exceptional skills of the two painters, but also at the unparalleled size of this enormous altarpiece. Strikingly, the motives behind its commissioning have not been the subject of thorough scrutiny. This lecture will reconstruct the social, economic and political world of the Altarpiece’s donors, the elderly couple Jodocus Vyd and Elisabeth Borluut. This allows to challenge some deep-rooted assumptions about investment in art in the Late Medieval Low Countries and to develop a new explanation for the exceptional characteristics of the Altarpiece.

Frederik Buylaert
Professor in History at the Free University of Brussels (VUB) and is currently Pieter Paul Rubens Visiting Professor at the UC Berkeley Department of History. He is an expert on Dutch medieval history.

Location: 223 Moses Hall, U.C. Berkeley
A wine and cheese reception will follow the program.

For more information please email naul-programs@gmail.com

Parking information: Dwinelle Parking Lot or the Bancroft Parking Structure

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