Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item:
Title The Interweaving between Verbal and Visual Text in the Works of the Brothers van Eyck and Rogier van der Weyden: Identifying the Viewer’s Position
Author email
About author Zabrodina, Elena Al’bertovna — M. A., post-graduate student. Russian State University for the Humanities, Miusskaia pl., 6, 125993 Moscow, GSP-3, Russian Federation.
In the section Art of the Renaissance DOI10.18688/aa177-5-56
Year 2017 Volume 7 Pages 555563
Type of article RAR Index UDK 75 Index BBK 85.103(4)

Although the use of labels in visual arts has millennia of practice, it was the brothers Van Eyck and Rogier van der Weyden who managed to intertwine verbal and visual aids in their work in such a unique way as are the sources of written texts that include prophecies, apocrypha, “Golden legend”, “Imitation of Christ”, the words of the Saviour, the apostles and the church fathers, personal mottos, and the works of ancient authors.The inscriptions and signatures in the works of the two masters of the Northern Renaissance are among the least studied problems. Many features of the inscriptions on the works by Van Eyck and Van der Weyden are close to each other and reveal different aspects of the viewer’s position, which is expected by the artists. The dialogues of Gospel characters manage emotions and direct the audience’s attention by means of a written text, scrolls with texts in the hands of the Sibyls and Angels create the effect of trompe-l’oeil, inverted writing responsesreminiscent of the “internal viewer” works. It should be noted that Van Eyck uses three languages — Greek, Latin, Flemish, as well as the letters of the Jewish alphabet, whereas in van der Weyden’s works only Latin letters have been found. And the most interesting fact is that Jan van Eyck often makes a viewer look into a picture tosee the text as part of embroidery on a dress or an inscription on a stone pedestal. On the other hand, Rogier van der Weyden often puts a text on floating ribbons (“banderole”), thereby creating an “interpretive gap”, which allows a viewer to reflect on the relationship between the visual and the verbal.

Reference Zabrodina, Elena A. The Interweaving between Verbal and Visual Text in the Works of the Brothers van Eyck and Rogier van der Weyden: Identifying the Viewer’s Position. Actual Problems of Theory and History of Art: Collection of articles. Vol. 7. Ed. S. V. Mal’tseva, E. Iu. Staniukovich-Denisova, A. V. Zakharova. — St. Petersburg: St. Petersburg Univ. Press, 2017, pp. 555–563. ISSN 2312-2129.
Publication Article language russian
  • Acres A. Rogier van der Weyden’s Painted Texts. Artibus et Historiae, 2000, vol. 21, no. 41. 236 p.
  • Borchert T.-H. Jan Van Eyck: Renaissance Realist. Köln, Taschen Publ., 2008. 96 p.
  • Borchert T.-H. Van Eyck to Durer. Early Netherlandish Painting&Central Europe 1430–1530. Tielt, Lannoo Publ., 2010. 552 p.
  • Campbell G. (ed.). The Grove Encyclopedia of Northern Renaissance Art, 3 vols. Oxford University Press Publ., 2009. 1966 p.
  • Campbell L.; Falomir M.; Fletcher J.; Syson L. Renaissance Faces: Van Eyck to Titian. London, National Gallery Company, Yale University Press Publ., 2008. 304 p.
  • Dhanens E. Van Eyck: The Ghent Altarpiece (Art in Context). New York, Penguin Books Publ., 1973. 154 p.
  • Dunkerton J.; Foister S.; Gordon D.; Penny N. Ciotto to Durer: Early Renaissance Painting in the National Gallery. London, Yale University Press, New Haven and London in association with NG. Publ., 1991. 408 p.
  • Ferretti S. Cassirer, Panofsky, Warburg: Symbol, Art, and History. New Haven, Yale University Press Publ., 1989. 304 p.
  • Harbison C. Jan van Eyck, the Play of Realism. London, Reaktion Books Publ., 1991. 317 p.
  • Harbison C. The Art of the Northern Renaissance. London, Weidenfeld & Nicolson Publ., 1995. 176 p.
  • Harbison C. The Mirror of the Artist: Northern Renaissance Art in Its Historical Context. New York, Abrams Publ., 1995. 176 p.
  • Jacobs L. F. Opening Doors: The Early Netherlandish Triptych Reinterpreted. University Park (PA), The Pennsylvania State University Press Publ., 2011. 357 p.
  • Kemp W. The Work of Art and Its Beholder. The Methodology of the Aesthetic of Reception. The Subject of Art History: Historical Objects in Contemporary Perspectives. Cambridge Publ., 1998, pp. 180–196.
  • Kemperdick S.; Lammertse F. The Road to Van Eyck. Rotterdam, Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen Publ., 2012. 342 p.
  • Miranda M. Z.; Witschey E. (eds.). The Prado Masterpieces, 2 vols. Madrid, Museo del Prado Publ., 2016. 494 p.
  • Panofsky E. Early Netherlandish Painting: Its Origin and Character. Cambridge, Harvard University Press Publ., 1953. 574 p.
  • Panofsky E. Jan van Eyck’s Arnolfini Portrait. The Burlington Magazine for Connoisseurs, 1934 (March), vol. 64, no. 372, pp. 117–119, 122–127.
  • Philip L. B. The Ghent Altarpiece and the Art of Jan van Eyck. New Jersey: Princeton University Press Publ., 1971. 255 p.
  • Ridderbos B.; Buren A. van.; Veen H. Th. van. Early Netherlandish Paintings: Rediscovery, Reception, and Research. Los Angeles, Calif., Getty Publ., 2005. 481 p.
  • Ward J. L. Disguised Symbolism as Enactive Symbolism in van Eyck’s Paintings. Artibus et Historiae, 1994, no. 29, pp. 9–53.
  • Wixom W. D. Late Medieval Sculpture in the Metropolitan, 1400–1530. The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin, 2007, vol. 64, no. 4. 48 p.