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Title: The Sparkling Stones in the Ghent Altarpiece and the Fountain of Life of Jan van Eyck, Reflecting Cusanus and Jan van Ruusbroec
Author(s): SCHNEIDER, Wolfgang Christian
Journal: Studies in Spirituality
Volume: 24    Date: 2014   
Pages: 155-177
DOI: 10.2143/SIS.24.0.3053495

Abstract :
The rich use of precious stones in the panels of the Ghent Altarpiece is due to the presence of stones in the Rivers of Paradise (Gn 2:10-14: onyx and bedolah, i.e. sardonyx or carnelian and jet) and in the goshen of the High Priest in Exodus (28.15 to 21), which inspired the description of the heavenly Jerusalem in the Apocalypse (21.9 to 21). Whereas within the Fountain of Life in the Prado, which since new investigations is to be ascribed to Jan van Eyck, on the side of the Synagogue all stones are concentrated in the Goshen, on the side of the Ecclesia the precious stones are spread over the spiritual and secular leaders. This later moment is maintained in the Ghent Altarpiece, in which Jan van Eyck in addition to the biblical sources picks up statements of Jan van Ruusbroec. Citing the Apocalypse the Flemish mystic spoke of a sparkling stone, which is given to the one, who transcends all things, and in it he gains light and truth and life. Exactly that was painted by Jan van Eyck.

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