jan van eyck paintings
Van Eyck served as official to John of Bavaria-Straubing, ruler of Holland, Hainault and Zeeland. By this time he had assembled a small workshop and was involved in redecorating the Binnenhof palace in The Hague. After John’s death in 1425 he moved to Bruges and came to the attention of Philip the Good c. 1425.  His emergence as a collectable painter generally follows his appointment to Philip’s court, and from this point his activity in the court is comparatively well documented. He served as court artist and diplomat, and was a senior member of the Tournai painters’ guild. On 18 October 1427, the Feast of St. Luke, he travelled to Tournai to attend a banquet in his honour, also attended by Robert Campin and Rogier van der Weyden. 
Except for the Ghent Altarpiece, van Eyck’s religious works feature the Virgin Mary as the central figure. She is typically seated, wearing a jewel-studded crown, cradling a playful child Christ who gazes at her and grips the hem of her dress in a manner that recalls the 13th-century Byzantine tradition of the Eleusa icon (Virgin of Tenderness).  She is sometimes shown reading a Book of Hours. She usually wears red. In the 1432 Ghent Altarpiece Mary wears a crown adorned with flowers and stars. She is dressed as a bride, and reads from a girdle book draped with green cloth,  perhaps an element borrowed from Robert Campin’s Virgin Annunciate.  The panel contains a number of motifs that later reappear in later works; she is already Queen of Heaven, wearing a crown adorned with flowers and stars.
The identity of the sitter is mysterious. His face seems melancholic, perhaps he was a musician at the Burgundian court or a legal advisor. Painted in 1432, Leal Souvenir is notable as an early example of the secular portrait and for the parapet that dominates its lower portion. On the rock parapet are three lines of inscriptions. The middle reads ‘Leal Souvenir’, French for loyal memory, suggesting the portrait is posthumous. Below is van Eyck’s signature, and above are strange Greek letters that suggest the name Timotheus. This could be the name of the sitter or a classical reference. The chipped, fissured and cracked rock parapet is a symbol of human transience. The portrait is a clear influence on the later works of Petrus Christus. It’s been held by the National Gallery since 1857.
There are two near-identical versions of this painting, one in Philadelphia and one in Turin. For years, their attribution was uncertain until it was found that the wooden panel on which the Philadelphia painting was executed came from the same tree as two portraits by van Eyck. They are believed by scholars to be relatively early works by van Eyck, perhaps from the late 1420s or early 1430s. We see St Francis during his 40 days in the wilderness as he receives the stigmata, accompanied by a seraph and his confessor, Brother Leo. But more striking is the naturalism within the painting, the extraordinary verisimilitude and details of the rock formations and beyond them, the Flemish city in the far distance. Look closely and you can see people and animals beneath the city walls that are no more than tiny black specks on the canvas.
Apart from the Ghent Altarpiece and the illuminated miniatures of the Turin-Milan Hours, about 20 surviving paintings are confidently attributed to him, all dated between 1432 and 1439. Ten, including the Ghent altarpiece, are dated and signed with a variation of his motto, ALS IK KAN (As I (Eyck) can) always written in Greek characters, always a pun on his name.
Jan van Eyck (Dutch: [ˈjɑn vɑn ˈɛik]) (before c. 1390 – 9 July 1441) was an Early Netherlandish painter active in Bruges. He is often considered one of the founders of Early Netherlandish painting, and, one of the most significant representatives of Northern Renaissance art. The few surviving records of his early life indicate that he was born c. 1380–1390, most likely in Maaseik. He took employment in the Hague as painter and Valet de chambre with John III the Pitiless, ruler of Holland and Hainaut in the Hague around 1422, when he was already a master painter with workshop assistants. After John’s death in 1425 van Eyck was employed in Lille as court painter to Philip the Good, Duke of Burgundy, until 1429 before moving to Bruges, where he lived until his death. He was highly regarded by Philip, and undertook a number of diplomatic visits abroad, including to Lisbon in 1428 to explore the possibility of a marriage contract between the duke and Isabella of Portugal.
The full-length portrait was quite rare in the early Renaissance, and later proved an important influence to multiple generations of artists. However, it also serves as a point of contention among scholars and historians as to who, what and why this painting was commissioned. An identification of the male figure was made based on a written inventory of Margaret of Hungary’s collection in 1516, which noted: “A large picture which is called Hernoult le Fin [translating to “Arnolfini”] with his wife in a bedchamber done by Johannes the painter.” However, which member of the Arnolfini family and the identity of the woman long remained a puzzle. Like the numerous bust portraits van Eyck painted, it serves to illustrate the growing wealth and autonomy of the middle class in Flemish society. Staging the portraits as if engaged in an activity, however, is something new.
Oil on Wooden Panels (open) – The Cathedral of St. Bavo, Ghent, Belgium
Portrait of a Man (Self Portrait?), also known as a Portrait of a Man in a Turban or Portrait of a Man in a Red Turban, painted in oil in 1433. It has the Als Ich Kan autograph, but here it is unusually large and prominent, written on the frame. Consequently, this fact, along with the man’s unusually direct and confrontational gaze, have been taken as an indication that the work is a self-portrait. But, as often in art history, we are not completely sure about this.
As you can see, the original lamb (the one on the right) has a much more human-like face. Art historians of the Royal Institute’s restoration project claim that it was over-painted in the 16th-century to “neutralize” the expression. This was to make it less disturbing, and to adapt it the the taste of the time of the over-painting.