Portrait of a Man (Self Portrait?)

Here the original frame, featuring inscriptions along the top and bottom, is as important as the canvas itself. Along the top, Van Eyck’s personal motto, Als Ich Can (as I/Eyck can) is inscribed in Greek letters. The bottom inscriptions serve to sign and date the work. These inscriptions and the aggressive gaze of the subject suggest that this painting is a self portrait of the Northern Renaissance artist. Van Eyck’s attention to detail, as seen through red veins in the eyes, wrinkles, and a growing beard reveal that Van Eyck seeks to forgo idealization in favor of reality.

Creator: Jan van Eyck

Date: 1433

Original Medium: Oil on oak

Original Size: 26 x 19 cm

Location: National Gallery London