Sight and Spirituality in Early Netherlandish Painting

Bret Rothstein
Publication Date
2005
Website
View publication information

Sight and Spirituality in Early Netherlandish Painting examines the importance of vision as a narrative and thematic concern in works by artists such as Jan van Eyck, Petrus Christus, and Roger van der Weyden. Bret Rothstein argues that their paintings invited the viewer to demonstrate a variety of mental skills. Depicting religious visual experience, these works alluded to the imperceptibility of the divine and implicated the viewer's own experience as part of a larger spiritual and intellectual process. Rothstein demonstrates how and why the act of seeing became a highly valued skill, one to be refined and displayed, as well as a source of competition among both artists and patrons.