Jan van Eyck Picture Study Aid and Art Prints

(9 customer reviews)


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Jan van Eyck Picture Study

Included in this 29-page Jan van Eyck Picture Study Aid (see a sample Picture Study Aid here!) is the following:

  • a brief summary of the life of the Netherlandish painter Jan van Eyck (ca. 1395-1441).
  • a synopsis of seven of his works (see right).
  • printable versions of the pieces covered (in the PDF version).
  • a brief discussion about Charlotte Mason’s ideas and methods for implementing picture study at different ages is also included.
  • the printed book is saddle-stitched with high-quality, 100-lb., smooth paper and full color.

There is also an option to order separate, professionally-printed copies of each piece for use during your picture study time in the drop-down menu below as well. These are printed on durable cardstock with a smooth finish on 8.5×11-inch, acid-free paper and display beautifully. The prints do not include the Picture Study Aid PDF download – this is a separate purchase.

The pieces* discussed are:

  • Ghent Altarpiece (closed) (ca. early 1420s-1432)
  • Ghent Altarpiece (open) (ca. early 1420s-1432)**
  • Adoration of the Mystic Lamb (detail from Ghent Altarpiece – ca. early 1420s-1432)
  • Portrait of a Man (1433)
  • The Arnolfini Portrait (1434)
  • Virgin and Child with Canon van der Paele (1434-1436)
  • The Annunciation (ca. 1434-1436)

*AmblesideOnline users, please note that these are not the same pieces selected for the AmblesideOnline artist rotation. You can find a PDF of those prints here.

**There is a small amount of female nudity in the upper-right corner of the open altarpiece in the form of Eve.

[Jan van Eyck] is considered the first painter of our age. Literature was not unknown to him and above all he was well versed in geometry, as he was in all the arts that contribute to the perfection of painting, so that he was able to discover many properties of colors that had been handed down from antiquity in the treatises of Pliny and other authors.


Though he is held in high regard, little is known about Jan van Eyck’s early life. He seemed to suddenly materialize in the annals of history when a payment to him was recorded in John III of Bavaria’s court in 1422. It is thought that he was born between 1390 and 1395 and that the majority, if not all, of his siblings, were also artists. In fact, several of his pieces, including the more well-known Ghent Altarpiece, are suspected to actually be either collaborations with or the work of his brother Hubert. Despite the mystery surrounding his life and work, he is considered a giant in the world of art history with at least one of his works included in the group of most recognized art in the world. In fact, the National Gallery of London recently posted that his The Arnolfini Portrait is the most viewed painting on their site. Giorgio Vasari, author of the famed 16th-century Lives of the Artists, even credited him with the invention of oil painting.

The intention of this Picture Study Aid is to equip the home educator with some basic facts and understanding of a sampling of the work of Jan van Eyck. It is not meant to be an exhaustive analysis or study of each piece or a complete biography of the artist.

About picture study, Ms. Mason recommended keeping learning as simple as possible, especially in the younger years, and put extra emphasis on the images by themselves.

There is no talk about schools of painting, little about style; consideration of these matters comes in later life, the first and most important thing is to know the pictures themselves. As in a worthy book we leave the author to tell his own tale, so do we trust a picture to tell its tale through the medium the artist gave it. In the region of art as else-where we shut out the middleman. (vol 6 pg 216)

Definite teaching is out of the question; suitable ideas are easily given, and a thoughtful love of Art inspired by simple natural talk over the picture at which the child is looking. (PR Article “Picture Talks”)

…we begin now to understand that art is not to be approached by such an acadamised road. It is of the spirit, and in ways of the spirit must we make our attempt. We recognise that the power of appreciating art and of producing to some extent an interpretation of what one sees is as universal as intelligence, imagination, nay, speech, the power of producing words. But there must be knowledge and, in the first place, not the technical knowledge of how to produce, but some reverent knowledge of what has been produced; that is, children should learn pictures, line by line, group by group, by reading, not books, but pictures themselves. A friendly picture-dealer supplies us with half a dozen beautiful little reproductions of the work of some single artist, term by term. After a short story of the artist’s life and a few sympathetic words about his trees or his skies, his river-paths or his figures, the little pictures are studied one at a time; that is, children learn, not merely to see a picture but to look at it, taking in every detail.” (vol 6 pg 214)

This Picture Study Aid is meant to offer basic information about the artists as well as ready answers should your student ask about a particular aspect of a piece and the explanation isn’t readily evident. Ms. Mason emphasized not focusing on strict academic discourse when doing picture study, but rather simply exposing students to the art itself:

His education should furnish him with whole galleries of mental pictures, pictures by great artists old and new;––…––in fact, every child should leave school with at least a couple of hundred pictures by great masters hanging permanently in the halls of his imagination, to say nothing of great buildings, sculpture, beauty of form and colour in things he sees. Perhaps we might secure at least a hundred lovely landscapes too,––sunsets, cloudscapes, starlight nights. At any rate he should go forth well furnished because imagination has the property of magical expansion, the more it holds the more it will hold. (vol 6 pg 43)


Picture Study Aid Downloadable PDF, Printed Picture Study Aid Book + 1 Set of Prints, Set of Prints Only, Frame TV Art, Discount Printed Picture Study Aid Book + 1 Set of Prints, Discount Print Sets, 3-5 Family Co-op/Group License, 6-10 Family Co-op/Group License, 11-15 Family Co-op/Group License, 16-20 Family Co-op/Group License

9 reviews for Jan van Eyck Picture Study Aid and Art Prints

5.0 Rating
1-5 of 9 reviews
  1. Thank you for making this easy to print and providing the summaries. The kids and I love it!

  2. They are wonderful! The prints are on very think paper.

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