The Three Marys at the Tomb

The Three Marys at the Tomb 1425 - 1435

Jan van Eyck

Room 34

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matthew chea asked:
On the three marys at the tomb painting by Van Eyck there is a white chalk number on the back of the panel. Can you tell me what that chalk number is for?
Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen responded:
Hi Matthew, we asked our conservator for you. He told us that this number that you saw on the back of the painting (in the restoration video?), is probably just an old inventory number from one of the former owners. I hope this has been useful! Kind regards, Tanja
Amy E Abrigo asked:
Hello, do you have an author for the description for "The Three Marys at the Tomb", and do you have a date that this page was last updated? I would like to cite it on a research project. Link:
Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen responded:
Dear Amy, The text is written by the curatoratorial and educational team Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen. The date that this information was published on the site is march 10th, 2010. Kind regards, Nina


About this artwork

The three Maries, Mary Magdalene, Mary Cleophas and Mary Salome go together to the grave of Christ after his burial to anoint him. When they arrive at the tomb, they see that the stone has been rolled away and an angel tells them that Christ has risen. It is this moment, which is described in the gospel of Mark, that the Van Eyck brothers depicted. The soldiers who were standing guard at the grave are still sunk in deep sleep. Mary Magdalene, in her red dress, is kneeling and looking at the angel seated on the stone that had sealed the tomb. She is pointing at the empty tomb. The angel is making a gesture of greeting to the three Maries. A medieval city is shown in the background. It is a reasonably faithful representation of Jerusalem in the 15th century. This large panel is the only work by the Van Eyck brothers in the Netherlands.

About the creator

Jan van Eyck

Maaseik circa 1390 - Brugge 1441

Jan van Eyck worked at various royal courts, and was, for example, court painter to Philip the Good of Burgundy. It is suggested that Jan van Eyck discovered oil paint, however this technique was known earlier, but he perfected the technique of working with oil paint. He became famous for his technical skills. He used very clear oil to make the paint and applied the colours in different, almost transparent layers. In this way he achieved intense colours and could work in great detail. There are around thirty works known by Van Eyck.

Hubert van Eyck

Maaseik circa 1365 - Gent 1426

Hubert (c. 1366-1426) was the elder of the Van Eyck brothers, but nothing is known of his life. He probably worked in Ghent. In comparison with his, much is known about the life of his brother Jan.

Object details

material and technique: oil on panel
kind of object: painting
creditline: Verworven met de verzameling van / Acquired with the collection of: D.G. van Beuningen 1958; De restauratie van dit schilderij in 2012 is mogelijk gemaakt door / The restoration of this painting in 2012 was made possible by: Nedspice.
inventory number: 2449 (OK)