Lecture Series - Van Eyck, Van der Weyden & the 'New Art' of Flanders

February 22, 2021

If you are unable to attend the live session, do not worry - all those who register will automatically be sent copies of the lecture to view in your own time (from around four hours after it takes place).

Around 1420 a ‘new art’ emerged in Flanders – an artistic turning point as significant as that which occurred at the same time in Renaissance Italy. Though not a ‘renaissance’ in the sense of a classically inspired cultural rebirth as in Italy, the Netherlandish ars nova (as the 20th-century art historian Erwin Panofsky called it) shares many characteristics with its Italian counterpart, notably the striving for naturalism, grounded in the faithful observation of reality. The preeminent figure in this visual revolution was Jan van Eyck (c.1390-1441), the most celebrated painter of his day, followed by the slightly younger Rogier van der Weyden (c. 1400-1464). Dr Paula Nuttall, an expert on the visual culture of the Low Countries in this period, gives three lectures on Van Eyck and Van der Weyden, and their artistic background.

The Road to Van Eyck – Friday 5 March 2021

The ‘new art’ was fully fledged when Hubert and Jan van Eyck painted the Ghent Altarpiece, the first datable work in the new style. How, though, did the Van Eycks arrive at this point? What influenced them? What was pre-Eyckian painting like? We shall explore these questions through artworks produced for the Burgundian rulers of the Netherlands and other elite patrons, while also considering the all-important development of the oil technique, fundamental to the new art. 

Jan Van Eyck – Friday 12 March 2021

Jan van Eyck, court painter to the Duke of Burgundy, spent the last decade of his life in Bruges. We explore the masterpieces he painted there, including the Arnolfini Portrait, the Virgin of Chancellor Rolin, and the Virgin with Canon Van der Paele, unpacking their complex meanings and marvelling not only at Van Eyck’s astonishing representation of reality but at the sophistication with which he manipulates that reality, playing visual games with the viewer that enhance our reading of these works.

Rogier van der Weyden – Friday 19 March 2021

After Jan van Eyck, Rogier van der Weyden (d. 1464) was the most celebrated painter of his day. Strongly influenced by his master Robert Campin of Tournai, he settled in Brussels. Sharing many of the same artistic aims as Van Eyck, Rogier was additionally a supreme visualiser of emotion, as evidenced by his masterpiece, the great Descent from the Cross now in the Prado. His designs were wide-ranging and highly influential, from the magisterial Last Judgement in Beaune to his stylish court portraits.

Paula Nuttall     

Paula Nuttall


Paula Nuttall is an art historian specialising in the Renaissance. She gained her PhD at the Courtauld Institute, on artistic relations between Flanders and Italy, a field in which she is an international authority. She began her lecturing career at the British Institute of Florence. Paula is Course Director of the V&A Medieval and Renaissance Year Course, and an Associate Lecturer at the Courtauld. She also lectures for the Arts Society (formerly NADFAS), the Royal Collection and the Art Fund. In 2013 she co-curated the exhibition Face to Face: Flanders, Florence and Renaissance Painting at the Huntington Art Collection in California and collaborated on the 2020 exhibition Van Eyck: an Optical Revolution at Ghent. Her numerous publications include From Flanders to Florence: the Impact of Netherlandish Painting, 1400-1500 (Yale University Press, 2004) and a chapter on the Northern Renaissance for the Oxford Illustrated History of the Renaissance.

Format for Lecture

Paula will give three one-hour illustrated lectures for £27.50.

You will not need to download any software and the lecture will work in any browser. For the best experience use a desktop or laptop - but it will also work on an iPad or similar tablet.

We hope you enjoy the lectures.


Register for Lectures - 5, 12 & 19 March at 11am


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