St Barbara (1437) by Jan Van Eyck

St Barbara - Jan Van Eyck - 1437

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Artwork Information

TitleSt Barbara
ArtistJan Van Eyck
MediumOil on Wood
Dimensions34 x 18.5 cm
Art MovementNorthern Renaissance
Current LocationRoyal Museum of Fine Arts Antwerp, Belgium

About St Barbara

The artwork, “St Barbara,” is a creation by Jan Van Eyck, a master of the Northern Renaissance, completed in the year 1437. It is executed using oil on a wood panel and is categorized as a sketch and study. The dimensions of this piece measure 34 centimeters by 18.5 centimeters. This exquisite piece of art is housed in the Royal Museum of Fine Arts in Antwerp, Belgium.

The artwork depicts the figure of St. Barbara, rendered with exceptional attention to detail and finesse that is characteristic of Van Eyck’s style. In the foreground, St. Barbara is seated, her posture serene, accompanied by the attribute of a tower, which is intricately detailed and occupies the composition’s background. Her attire is modest and she holds a palm branch, a symbol of martyrdom, indicative of her sanctity and suffering. Van Eyck has infused the scene with a profound sense of realism and a meticulous rendering of textures, from the folds of St. Barbara’s garments to the architectural nuances of the tower.

The background features a panoramic view, bustling with minute figures that suggest a narrative or daily life activities, which yet again bespeak Jan Van Eyck’s gift for incorporating sophisticated details. The overall effect of the artwork is one of quiet devotion and the rich narrative contained within the tableau of medieval religious iconography.

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