The best copy that we are aware of today is to be found in a prestigious collection in Munich, Germany and will normally be out on display because of its connection to Jan Van Eyck, who himself remains one of the most respected and influential artists in European art history. He was highly skilled in portraiture and completed a number of highly accomplished portraits during his career, some of religious figures such as this, and others of notable local figures who had the required finance and connections in order to set up the project. Most of his religious portraits would have been requested for the purposes of private devotion, where one could pray or reflect in peace by themselves. The likely commissioned piece would have been actually a two panel item, with this painting forming one half of that, similar to Van Eyck's Crucifixion and Last Judgement Diptych.

All of the copies are relatively small, which makes it highly likely that the original was so too. It also fits with the idea of this piece being intended for personal use, so a larger size may have been unsuitable to be placed on a table or in a small room. The depiction of Christ here is very human-like, without the drama or divine nature that many other artists would do. It was as if Van Eyck wanted us to connect to Christ as if he was just like us, making him more accessible and real to the viewer. You will notice here some writing on the bottom of the frame and this was something that the artist liked to do fairly regularly, sometimes with a thought around the work itself, other times using his signature script.

Head to the Alte Pinakothek in Munich to see the copy that is displayed here. Alongside that you will be able to enjoy a wide selection of European paintings covering many of the biggest names from across a variety of styles and movements. Some of the exciting items to look out for include the likes of Rogier van der Weyden, Hieronymus Bosch, Gerard David, Quinten Massys and Joos van Cleve. There are also local German artists from around that period who were also particularly influentual as well. All in all, Northern Europe played just as important a role as Italy in these early stages which led into the Renaissance and Baroque periods. Jan van Eyck was also critical because of the advancements that he made in the use of oil paints which would be picked up by artists right across the continent over time.