The iconography of The Ghent Altarpiece has since a long time fascinated researchers. When it was finished in 1432, the work of art became instantly the most famous in Europe.
It was the first real oil painting. Oil had been utilized to tie shades to artistic creations since the Middle Ages, however Jan van Eyck was the first to exhibit the genuine capability of oils, which permit far greater subtlety and detail than largely-opaque egg-based tempera paint, which was preferred before The Ghent Altarpiece popularized oils.
the Mystic Lamb
The altarpiece contains more than 100 figures, and is an intricate pantheon of Catholic mysticism —at its center stands a heavenly field, overflowing with uniquely portrayed figures around a sacrificial lamb, representative of Christ (the Adoration of the Mystic Lamb from which the work draws it title). The sheep stands upon an altar piece and bleeds into a vessel—the Holy Grail.
Whether such a map is in The Ghent Altarpiece is another matter, one that researchers dismiss and call a crazy idea, however it is enticing to translate the mind boggling, puzzling iconography and masked imagery of van Eyck’s magnum opus in terms more weird and exotic than those in the average art history textbook.
The Righteous Judges
Be that as it may, there is additionally another segment to the story that powers this hypothesis, and it is connected to the 1934 burglary of that bottom left single panel “de rechtvaardige rechters”/ The Righteous Judges.
There has never been a persuading clarification for the motivation to steal the Righteous Judges panel, referred to because it portrays a gathering of Biblical wise men (while likewise concealing a few portraits of men, including one of van Eyck).
While the man who is assumed he planned the burglary of the painting, Arsene Goedertier, couldn’t have acted alone, and his motivation is quite uncertain. The painting was apparently stolen so as to ransom it back to the Diocese of Ghent—yet Goedertier had more cash in his financial balance than was requested in the ransom request.
For absence of a reasonable motive, different hypotheses have emerged, one of which is connected to a German detective, Heinrich Köhn, who was sent to Ghent to discover the stolen Righteous Judges panel many years before the occupying German forces grabbed the other eleven boards of the altarpiece.
National Socialist Propaganda Minister Joseph Goebbels, along with Himmler, conceived of the idea to find the lost Righteous Judges panel and give it as a gift to Hitler at the tenth commemoration of his assumption of power in Germany, in 1943.
Köhn investigated throughout the city of Ghent, even taking apart portions of the cathedral (for one theory held that the panel had been hidden on-site, never having left Saint Bavo Cathedral). He found nothing, and was sent to fight at the Eastern Front for his failure.