Margaretha van Eyck was an important figure in the Northern Renaissance and more specifically, a major influence on the artist Jan van Eyck. In 1439, when she was 33 years old, Margaret van Eyck painted her most famous work: her pendant to Jan van Eyck’s self-portrait. The painting was likely completed around the age of 34 using oil paints and wood for the canvas. In this scene, Jan placed his own family in the legend of Saint George and also included a symbolic dove.
The painting symbolically portrays Margaret as a hero who seeks justice and hope through her spiritual journey. It also speaks to Margaret’s faith in God and how she sought comfort despite difficult times. The beautiful colors used in the painting demonstrate her attention to detail and ability to capture the story behind it with accuracy. Additionally, by placing his own family in the scene, Jan is sending an important message about his respect for his wife and their partnership together to make art that tells meaningful stories.
Margaretha van Eyck’s portrayal of strong female characters has remained timeless throughout history. Similarly other renowned works of art during this time period explored religious themes such as Andrea Mantegna’s ‘The Agony In The Garden’, completed around 1450. Despite being created nearly two centuries apart, both pieces show how artists were able to create powerful visuals that reflect their spiritual journeys and beliefs at a particular point in time.