Jan van Eyck and Workshop Assistant (Netherlandish, active by 1422, died 1441)
Oil on canvas, transferred from wood; Each 22 1/4 x 7 3/4 in. (56.5 x 19.7 cm)
Fletcher Fund, 1933 (33.92ab)
These pictures juxtaposing Christ's sacrifice for the salvation of mankind with the Last Judgment are among the earliest surviving works by Jan van Eyck, the most celebrated painter of fifteenth-century Europe. The Crucifixion is presented as an eyewitness account set against a distant landscape, astonishing for its depth and subtlety of description. In contrast, The Last Judgment is organized hieratically in three tiers, with the scale of the figures manipulated to indicate their relative importance. The biblical texts on the original frames are given form in the pictures with remarkable literalness, establishing a play between word and image that would have been admired by contemporaries. The upper half of The Last Judgment was painted in part by an assistant.