Focus on
Jan van Eyck


31 May to 29 October 2006

Jan van Eyck’s “Lucca Madonna” is one of the most important artworks in the Städel Museum and marked the beginning of a new exhibition series analysing the different ways in which art can be perceived, on the basis of single works of art taken from the collection. The many and varied levels of response to the painting were presented here in terms of an
up-to-date, evolutionary process of research, reflected by the exhibition in the form of so-called “mind-maps” filling entire walls. Insights into art history were accompanied by considerations from other disciplines such as sociology, psychology and the history of science and of piety, as well as research findings from natural sciences. As one of the founding fathers of Early Netherlandish painting, Jan van Eyck was also one of the first painters of the modern age. With his incomparable painting technique (not invented but decisively refined by him), his brilliant pictorial concepts and his supreme command of iconographic tradition, van Eyck remains unequalled in the 15th century.

Three aspects – the genesis, significance and ultimate function of a painting – thus lie at the heart of the various different approaches to Jan van Eyck’s “Lucca Madonna” that were being explored in this exhibition.

CURATOR: Prof. Dr. Jochen Sander, Städel Museum