Lucca Madonna (c.1437)

Van Eyck, Jan (c.1390-1441)

Lucca Madonna
Oil on panel, 65.5 × 149.5 cm
Städel MuseumFrankfurt

No other work by Jan van Eyck conveys a sense of such immediate intimacy between the viewer and the figures depicted as this painting. This effect is achieved not only by the tender portrayal of the mother-child relationship, but also by the masterly employment of light and shade, and above all the apparently casual – but in fact highly sophisticated – treatment of space. The floor, side walls and vaulted ceiling appear to extend seamlessly into the viewer’s space, an impression further reinforced by the reflection of the window in the glass carafe on the right. (SG)