Document of the famous painter Van Eyck found in Vatican archives

Van Eyck is the greatest exponent of Flemish art history.

Newsroom (June 22, 2021 15:54, Gaudium Press) To talk about Jan Van Eyck is to dive into the wonders of late Middle Ages Flemish painting, to contemplate its lightness and height, added to a realism that is not vulgar, but sublime. Some consider this 15th century Flemish painting as the last fruit, the last beautiful flower of Gothic painting.

Van Eyck’s painting is characterized by perfection in detail. His works are all famous, such as the “Virgin of Canon Van der Paele”, the “Virgin of Chancellor Rolin”, or his “Annunciation” which is in the National Gallery of Art in Washington.

He is believed to have been born in Maaseik, near Maastricht, on the current Dutch-Belgian border, but there is really a lot of obscurity about his life.

Asks for Confession

But now his figure is in the public limelight again after historian Hendrik Callewier found, in the Vatican archives, a singular request from the painter, six months before he died in 1441:

“Van Eyck asks that a letter be sent to him, granting him permission to go to confession with the aim of having his sins forgiven”; it is understood that he asks to go to confession at the Holy See.

The historian reports that this is the first time that one has seen a document written by Jan Van Eyck which mentions his wife Margareta.

Also surprising is a request of this style to the Pope: “It is something unprecedented in that time. Van Eyck really did like his clients: he is an artisan trying to obtain the same privileges as the high society and clergymen of his time.”

More by Gaudium Press  Saint Remigius of Rouen: Bishop, Son of Charles Martel and Uncle of Charlemagne

Van Eyck’s request comes from the diocese of Liège, which would confirm his birthplace in this jurisdiction and not in others. It also confirms that his wife was Margareta.

To admire the work of Van Eyck, click here.

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