An Encounter with Jan van Eyck
Age Range: 12 & up
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A highly readable and entertaining work of fiction inspired by Jan Van Eyck’s Northern Renaissance masterpiece, The Arnolfini Portrait. The Art Encounters series clearly owes debt to Tracey Chevalier’s bestselling novel inspired by Vermeer’s Girl With a Pearl Earring (2000) and Elizabeth Borton de Trevino’s Newbery-winning classic I, Juan de Parejo (based on Velázquez’s slave and studio assistant). The couple in this double portrait is a fabric merchant, Giovanni di Arrigo Arnolfini, and his bride, Giovanna Cenami. Van Eyck and Arnolfini were courtiers of the Burgundian duke, Philip the Good, while Giovanna was the daughter of an Italian fabric merchant in Lyon. A page-turning, lively, historical YA romance plot is spiced with a soupçon of star-crossed lovers (a la Romeo and Juliet). Along the way, readers will encounter well-integrated, fascinating information on the period as well as the materials and techniques of painting. Helpful back matter introduces readers to the ‘real’ Van Eyck and suggests further reading. A strong, appealing entry in a series that is gaining momentum. (Fiction. 12+)

Pub Date: July 1st, 2005
ISBN: 0-8230-0407-4
Page count: 144pp
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1st, 2005