A Man in a Turban (1433) by Jan Van Eyck

A Man in a Turban - Jan Van Eyck - 1433

Artwork Information

TitleA Man in a Turban
ArtistJan Van Eyck
MediumOil on Wood
Dimensions33.3 x 25.8 cm
Art MovementNorthern Renaissance
Current LocationNational Gallery, London

About A Man in a Turban

The artwork titled “A Man in a Turban” is a renowned creation by the artist Jan Van Eyck, dating back to 1433. This oil on wood painting measures 33.3 x 25.8 cm and is currently housed at the National Gallery in London. Representing the Northern Renaissance art movement, the piece is attributed to the genre of portrait; it is often considered a self-portrait of the artist. The striking portrait showcases a man whose identity is often speculated upon, set against a dark background that accentuates his facial features and the elaborate headgear he wears.

In the artwork, the subject is depicted with a solemn and piercing gaze that appears to engage directly with the viewer. The precision of the brushwork in rendering the texture of the subject’s skin and the intricate folds of the vibrant red turban wrapped around his head exemplifies Van Eyck’s meticulous attention to detail, typical of Northern Renaissance painters. The man’s face is characterized by a pale complexion, imbued with a sense of realism through subtle gradations of light and shadow. The folds of the turban are executed with such finesse, suggesting a voluminous and soft fabric, while the red hue provides a distinct contrast to the subdued tones of the subject’s clothing and the dark background. Moreover, the artwork’s intimate scale and the psychological depth captured in the subject’s expression have left a lasting impression on the history of portraiture.

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