Ghent altarpiece: Adoration of the Mystic Lamb

Hubert and Jan van Eyck, Ghent altarpiece, Adoration of the Mystic Lamb detail, 1432 CE, oil paint on polyptych panels. St. Bavo's Cathedral, Ghent.

In 2021 the restored Ghent Altarpiece opened to the public in its original, fifteenth-century home of St. Bavo’s Cathedral. This most recent restoration started in 1950 after the altarpiece was recovered after World War II. During this restoration scientists made the startling discovery that about 70 percent of the outer panels had been painted over in the sixteenth century. Most surprising of all was the humanized face of the lamb of God. The overpainting done in sixteenth century attempted to neutralize the intense and human gaze of the lamb and convert the image to an expressionless animal sacrifice. This panel is known as the Adoration of the Mystic Lamb, because of the central panel which shows pilgrims clustered together to pay homage to the Lamb of God, a representation of Jesus Christ.

Ghent-Altarpiece-Detail

The ritual killing and offering of animals to deities, often on an altar and intended as good for the gods.

(verb) To change one's beliefs, practices, and self-identity to those of a religion. (noun) One who has changed his or her beliefs, practices, and self-identity to those of a religion.

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