Hugo van der Velden, born in Boxmeer, the Netherlands, in 1963. Ph.D. from Utrecht University. Professor of the History of Art and Architecture at Harvard University.
Fellow (1 February 2010 – 30 June 2010)
JAN VAN EYCK AND THE RISE OF PAINTING
During my stay at NIAS, I worked on Jan and Hubert van Eyck’s Ghent Altarpiece. I am especially interested in the mentality that gave rise to the altarpiece’s conception and the artistic means by which it was achieved. First, however, it is necessary to reconstruct the genesis of this highly complex altarpiece, because this would establish a new chronological framework and a solution to the much debated issue of the ‘division of hands’ of Jan and Hubert van Eyck. The key is provided by a philological analysis of the altarpiece’s famous quatrain, the inscription that mentions the two painters, the patron (Joos Vijd) and a date (6 May 1432). I address these issues in three articles. The first article establishes the authenticity of the quatrain; the second demonstrates how it was first exhibited with the altarpiece; the third shows where and under what circumstances it was shown.