Jan van Eyck was an artist who would use symbolism subtlely, often making use of the background to incorporate various items that might not grab your attention at first. He would laiden his canvas with detail, often aiming to combine the spiritual and material worlds seamlessly. In previous centuries artists would provide an abrupt separation between these two ideals, but the likes of Jan van Eyck and also Fra Angelico would begin to fuse these together.
Religion naturally played a huge role in most artist's careers during this period, both as a source of inspiration and funding. Whilst Fra Angelico would combine his art with his work as a friar, van Eyck concentrated purely on his artistic life. The consistent series of signatures used by this flemish artist has also made his work far easier to attribute than many others from this period.
Van Eyck placed a greater importance on the frame used to display his paintings than had previously been seen before. He respected the work of the craftsmen who put them together and would customise each and every one in order to match the specific painting that he was working on. On some occasions he would paint them to appear as if made of stone, normally for his portraits. They most likely would have been produced locally and he would generally sign them once each work was finished.