It is a traditional belief that Jan van Eyck and his brother Hubert were natives of Maaseik, a town north of Maastricht. Jan van Eyck first appeared in The Hague, in October of 1422, as painter and varlet de chambre to John of Bavaria, Count of Holland. Since Van Eyck was referred to at that time as a "master", it seems likely that he was born no later than c. 1390. Following the death of John of Bavaria, Van Eyck moved to Bruges and on 19 May 1425 was appointed painter and varlet de chambre to Philip the Good, Duke of Burgundy. Until the end of 1429 he resided mainly in Lille but, in addition to his duties as painter, Van Eyck was also entrusted with various secret missions. In 1427 he may have gone to Spain to negotiate a marriage between the Duke of Burgundy and Isabella of Aragon; this was not successful, but in 1428 and 1429 Van Eyck was in Lisbon, where a marriage contract between Philip the Good and Isabella of Portugal was signed, and in December 1429 Isabella, perhaps accompanied by Van Eyck, arrived in Flanders. Following the marriage of Phillip and Isabella in 1430, it is assumed that Van Eyck moved to Bruges where, with the exception of certain secret missions, he spent the rest of his life as court artist to Philip. He also undertook civic commissions; in 1435 he painted and gilded six statues and their tabernacles for the facade of the Town Hall of Bruges. Van Eyck died in late June 1441.
[Hand, John Oliver, and Martha Wolff. Early Netherlandish Painting. The Collections of the National Gallery of Art Systematic Catalogue. Washington, D.C., 1986: 75-76.]
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