Colnaghi Foundation Journal 04 - Page 51



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The impact of Jan van Eyck’s lost Lomellini Triptych and his Genoese patrons
The impact of Jan van Eyck’s lost Lomellini Triptych and his Genoese patrons
close affinities with Early Flemish painting have long
been recognized. In his composition, Antonello looked
at different pictorial sources for inspiration and in
particular to works by Petrus Christus.78 According to
Pietro Summonte, Antonello had worked in Naples,
where he was introduced to Flemish painting by his
alleged teacher Niccolò Colantonio, so he most likely
had seen Van Eyck’s Lomellini Triptych during his
stay in the city in the early 1450s.79
Antonello doesn’t copy Van Eyck but takes his painting
as a source of inspiration. The complex structure of
Van Eyck’s interior – as reflected in Joos Amman’s
fresco – has been transformed by the Sicilian painter
into a spacious sequence of semi-secular chambers that
include a bedroom and a private chapel, and the view
of a background landscape is maintained. Antonello’s
figure of Gabriel is reminiscent of the archangel in
the Genoese mural, and the decorations of his prayer
stool may reflect the lost painting by Van Eyck as
well. Arguably, Van Eyck’s Annunciation may have
inspired Antonello to include the two monumental
columns, one of which is prominently placed between
the Gabriel and Mary; nevertheless, the Sicilian artist,
who took a selective approach towards his model,
chose not to include the prophets.80
In all likelihood, Koerbeke had not seen Van Eyck’s
original but seems to have had access to model
drawings that were closely related to it, which he
might have obtained during a journey through the
Netherlands after his apprenticeship. In its reception
of these particular Eyckian motifs, Koerbeke’s
Annunciation remains an exception in Westphalian as
well as Cologne painting.77
Fig. 17 / Antonello da
Messina, Annunciation,
1474, oil on panel,
Syracuse, Palazzo Bellomo.
Figs. 18 a & b / Ramon Solà
the Younger, Annunciation,
1480, tempera on panel,
Girona Cathedral.
In 1474, just before his sojourn to Venice, Antonello da
Messina painted a monumental Annunciation (fig. 17).
Now in the Museum of Syracuse, the painting was
originally commissioned for the church of Santa Maria
Annunziata in the small Sicilian town of Palazzolo
Acreide. Despite its damaged state, the painting’s
Another work that has not yet been discussed in
relation to Van Eyck’s Lomellini Triptych is a
monumental diptych of the Annunciation from the
cathedral in Girona (figs. 18 a & b). Despite its much
later date, it ref lects significant parts of the lost work.
Its ambitious obligation to Flemish painting is amply
demonstrated by the conspicuous display of shadows
as well as the inclusion of detailed landscapes seen
through the door and windows. Originally placed
near to the treasury, against one of the building’s
pillars – hence its name, the ‘Salutacío del pilar’ – the
painting has been attributed to the Master of Girona,
but is most likely the work of the painter Ramon Solà
the Younger who received payments in June and
August 1480 for its “polychromy and placement.”81
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