EYCK, Jan van
(b. before 1395, Maaseik, d. before 1441, Bruges)

The Annunciation

c. 1435
Oil, transferred from wood to canvas, 93 x 37 cm
National Gallery of Art, Washington

This Flemish master revolutionized European art by perfecting the technique of oil painting. His meticulous detail, jewel-like transparent colour, and subtle tonal gradations have never been surpassed. Full of symbolism, elements in this late Gothic church interior symbolize the virginity of Mary, in the white lilies; the transmission of the Holy Spirit, in the white dove; and the relation between the Old and New Testaments, in the use of pavement stones with Old Testament scenes which prefigure the coming of Christ, such as David killing Goliath and Samson destroying the Philistine temple.