Master of Realism: Jan van Eyck’s Arnolfini Portrait

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Despite being ‘one of the towering figures in the history of art’, Jan van Eyck is a painter ‘about whom the vital facts are almost all missing.’ Very little is known about the man himself, his motivations, or indeed the people he painted in his iconic work ‘The Arnolfini Portrait’ (1434). Although small in size, the painting is rich in detail and is championed as one of ‘the most stunning pieces of illusionistic realism’ in Western art, that influenced generations of artists.