madonna of chancellor rolin

chancellor rolin big

Jan van Eyck painted this panel of the Madonna and Nicolas Rolin, chancellor to Phillip the Good, in 1435. The whole thing, with such exquisite detail, is barely more than 2 feet high. You can see it at the Louvre.

chan rollin 1

Lots of mind-blowing things are happening in this panel. First, Jan van Eyck inserts himself in the background of the work; in doing so, his selfie creates a liminal, in-between space. Next, the columns in the work are actually squashing bunnies. Rabbits were known as symbols of sexuality and fertility. Well, now they’re all dead. See ya, temptation!

chan crown

Lastly, while I’m all about the iconography of the work, that crown though…

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