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Jan van Eyck’s Typology of Spiritual Knighthood in the Van der Paele Madonna

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Chapter Summary

The Virgin and Child with Canon Joris van der Paele, completed in 1436 by the leading Flemish artist of the day, was the most prominent commission gifted to Saint Donatian's church in Brugge. The largest known painting by Jan van Eyck besides The Ghent Altarpiece, this work has been extensively researched and widely interpreted. This chapter describes the major themes of the painting by Jan van Eyck and explains a greater sense of how those concepts relate to the panel's patron and its original setting. It first situates the capital carving within the contexts of the picture and what is known about the circumstances of its creation. In the foreground one sees Canon van der Paele, kneeling in the presence of the enthroned Virgin Mary, who holds the Christ Child on her lap. Van der Paele's name saint, Saint George presents the canon to the Virgin and Child.

Keywords: Brugge; Canon van der Paele; Christ Child; Jan van Eyck; Saint Donatian; Saint George; Saint Paul; Virgin Mary

10.1163/9789004262010_003
/content/books/b9789004262010_003
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