Eyck The Last Judgement Analysis

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The exquisite masterpiece, The crucifixion; The Last Judgement by Jan Van Eyck and his workshop assistant, juxtaposes Christ’s sacrifice for the salvation of mankind and the last judgement. Created in 1435-40, the unique painting is broken up into multiple sections representing different techniques, symbols, and hidden meanings within the painting itself. The painting is an early Netherlandish piece of the early Renaissance Period, painted using oil on canvas, transferred from wood. The Crucifixion; The last Judgement is sliced into seven major sections. The left panel is The Crucifixion which is split into Christ’s sacrifice, the cheering and mocking of the soldiers, and the sorrowful weeping of Virgin Mary for her son. The right panel is …show more content…
One’s sins and misdeeds will one day reemerge and one will be punished for the crimes committed. The Metropolitan Museum of Art further entails the breakdown of the three sections in the Last Judgement panel. The top right hand portion of The Last Judgement presents Christ as the supreme judge of the afterlife. By his side the Virgin Mary and John the Baptist are rewarded for their eternal faith in Christ. Christ also opens the doors to heaven for the saints and his followers as they stood loyal and humble by his side on his darkest day. The middle portion of the painting shows the Archangel Michael controlling the passageway and sending the unworthy to hell. This part of the piece conveys that there are two ways of death on the day of the last judgement, either by drowning in the sea or being burnt to the ground. The bottom right hand portion portrays all those who were unworthy and who tortured him on the day of his sacrifice to be sent into hell through the skeleton of death. In graphically clear image, Eyck displays the horrors hell contains. The people are torn and eaten in endless torture by an array of creatures. The panel of The Last Judgement also establishes hidden meanings and symbols within the painting. Firstly, the consubstantial ideology of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit is also subtlety illustrated by connecting the heads of Christ, Virgin Mary and John the Baptist on the top right …show more content…
Both panels portray the consubstantial ideology of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. All three members are created of the same essence, but are not the same being. Jesus is the supreme authority and no one is equal to his divinity. Both bottom portions of the painting illustrate the use of dark colors to signify the physical and emotional pain and sorrow that overwhelmed the people. However, the prime distinction between the paintings is that in one Christ and his followers suffer in great pain and grief, while in the other, Christ is the chief judge deciding the fate of mankind. In The Crucifixion, Christ is being crucified and he sacrifices himself for the salvation of mankind. Christ is the one being punished and the punishers are mocking his grief. The opposite is said about The Last Judgement. In this side of the panel, Christ is the one who punishes the men who mocked him. He is the supreme head and punishes all those who were unworthy for their sins. The men who once mocked Christ of his sacrifice, suffered a painful and horrific death themselves. The theology behind the painting illustrates that Christ is unmerciful toward the sinners and merciful to the followers that stood by his side in horrid times. Christ is the divine being enforcing justice on the world. This is where the role of fate plays within this painting.

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