Jan Van Eyck

Virgin and Child with Canon van der Paele. 1435


The Canon looks like a classic bookworm. He could be squinting
disdainfully at the Crazy Oik and trying to decide whether it should be on the index. Van Eyck’s realism is so freakishly accomplished you could almost figure out the prescription of his specs – looks like a mild case of presbyopia. But with the bins on he could probably do brain surgery on a gnat. The nearest great Van Eyck would be the Arnolfini Wedding in the National Gallery – a favourite of the oiks. But Bruges isn’t that far away. You could easily whizz over to the Groeningen and stand gobsmacked in front of that huge five foot wide canvas

Otto Dix (featured on several Oik covers) was a fan. In reaction against German Expressionism he was a follower of the Neue Sachlichkeit (New Realism).

Considered revolutionary within his lifetime, van Eyck's designs and
methods were heavily copied and reproduced. His motto, one of the first and still most distinctive signatures in art history, ALS ICH KAN ("AS I CAN"), a pun on his name first appeared in 1433 on Portrait of a Man in a Turban, which can be seen as indicative of his emerging self-confidence at the time. The years between 1434 and 1436 are generally considered his high point when he produced works including the Madonna of Chancellor Rolin, Lucca Madonna and 
Virgin and Child with Canon van der Paele.