The Ghent Altarpiece, also known as the Adoration of the Mystic Lamb, was completed in 1432 by Jan Van Eyck. This masterpiece of European art is a polyptych consisting of 12 wooden panels and marks the transition from Middle Age to Renaissance art. The altarpiece has captivated the art world for centuries and is regarded as a treasure and a defining monument of Northern Renaissance art.
The altarpiece’s triptych format has individual paintings that come together to depict religious scenes such as The Annunciation, The Knights of Christ, and worshipers in adoration around Jesus Christ (Adoration of the Mystic Lamb), with its unique symbolism. Notably, it symbolizes Christ’s death with a sacrificial lamb on an altar being celebrated by various heavenly beings.
Jan Van Eyck worked on this piece with his brother Hubert, who started the project before passing away. Jan finished it after Hubert’s untimely demise while incorporating additional elements like realistic portraits of St John and Virgin Mary at the bottom of central panel.
The artwork is recognized not only because it was one of Europe’s first major oil paintings but also due to its attention to detail that brings every element to life realistically. It continues to influence current artists across various genres while housed at St Bavo’s Cathedral in Ghent, Belgium for visitors worldwide.