Crucifixion and Last Judgement Diptych (c.1440-1441)

Van Eyck, Jan (c.1390-1441) & Workshop

Crucifixion and Last Judgement Diptych
Oil on canvas, transferred from wood, 56.5 x 19.7 cm
Metropolitan Museum of ArtNew York

The Crucifixion.

The Last Judgement.

Philip the Good, duke of Burgundy, considered Van Eyck (his court painter) unequalled in his “art and science.” In fact, Van Eyck‘s expansive yet microcosmic paintings seem observed through both a microscope and a telescope. In The Crucifixion, he evokes a remarkable range of emotions among the crowds, set against an imagined Jerusalem. Van Eyck’s 1426 trip across the Alps during a diplomatic mission to Italy and the Holy Lands informed his naturalistic landscape depiction. He gives an equally palpable form to the horrors of the Last Judgment. Technical research has revealed that the two paintings were not always configured as a diptych, but originally served as the wings of a triptych or the doors to a tabernacle or reliquary shrine. The recently conserved frames are original, with biblical texts in Latin and rediscovered, now fragmentary, translations of those texts in Middle Dutch. (MET)