The Flemish Renaissance Movement and Its Key Artists

Jan Van Eyck, Hieronymus Bosch, Pieter Brueghel the Elder and younger

RNfinity | 28-01-2023

The Flemish renaissance movement is referred to as the fusion of then-Modern day Italian painting renaissance and local painting traditions of artists based in the Netherlands. Developed as a response to the Italian Renaissance in the Low Countries, the Flemish renaissance paintings are characterised by detailed depictions of the economically deprived areas of the European subcontinents and the landscapes that are a part of them, which received special attention. In fact, the Flemish renaissance painting period is also known as the birth period of landscape as well as genre painting. There were a few artists that gave this artistic revolution period its identity. This article is about them. Read on to know more.


Jan van Eyck.

The maestro who is known for his work for his oil paintings reportedly came from the city of Maaseik in Belgium and was reportedly born in 1390. His name is known to have started making rounds in the relevant circles around the year 1422, the year in which he supposedly worked for John of Bavaria in The Hague. Three years later, he worked in the capacity of a painter to Philip the Good, Duke of Burgundy. In fact, Eyck even painted Philip the Good’s future wife, Isabella of Portugal in 1428. He is one of the great pioneers of European painting and was a great innovator of oil painting technique.


While working on various religious commissions and for several courtiers, merchants and churchmen, he came to be known for realistically depicting surface effects and flow of natural light. He achieved his trademark effects with the help of oil paintings, thanks to its ability of achieving translucent layers, which are also known as glazes.

He combined realism with spiritual symbolism in his paintings, engendering a belief in the fundamental religious truth behind human existence and everyday experience. Two of his most well-known paintings are the enigmatic Arnolfini Portrait and Portrait of a man. The latter is believed to be Eyck’s self-portrait.

Madonna of Chancellor Rolin 1435 (Image public Domain)


The Arnolfini Portrait 1434 (Image public domain)