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New Research on Mysterious Paintings of Jan Van Eyck Supposes He Used a Special Device

20.09.2021
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New Research on Mysterious Paintings

For many years, the works of Flemish painter Jan van Eyck have intricate art historians. The artist is known for his empirical use of perspective, and a lot of people have tried to find geometrical coherence in his paintings.

In one of his most famous works, The Arnolfini Portrait, it is obviously impossible to find any vanishing point. The painting depicts a rich Italian married couple.

Since the 1990s, researchers have used computer analysis to understand the use of perspective in the painting. But they are still continuing to face difficulties trying to analyze it with algorithms.

Paintings of Jan Van Eyck

This new research relies on a psychological concept, the Helmholtz principle, and as a result, we can see that van Eyck’s perspectives were rigorously exact. This argument based on this finding hints that the artist used an optical device for painting his works.

It is supposed the painter used a perspective machine with the help of which he could have outlined parts of reality strip by strip with a carbon ink that he then transferred to a primed wood panel before actually painting it. In such a way he could have produced smooth transitions between the strips, which would have been difficult to perceive with the naked eye alone.

perspective machine for painting

Interestingly that the device was invented by Leonardo da Vinci half a century after van Eyck’s death. However, Van Eyck’s machine could have evolved from an earlier monoscopic one, like the device drawn by da Vinci.

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