(b ?Maaseik, c.1380/90; d Bruges, June 1441). The most celebrated painter of the Early Netherlandish School. Within a few years of his death he had a reputation on both sides of the Alps as a painter of great stature and importance, and although he is no longer credited with being the ‘inventor’ of oil painting, as was long maintained, his fame has continued undimmed to the present day. Nothing is known for certain of his early life and he is first recorded in 1422, working in The Hague at the court of John of Bavaria, Count of Holland. In 1425 John died and later in the same year Jan entered the service of Philip the Good, Duke of Burgundy, in Bruges, moving soon afterwards to Lille. Jan remained in Philip's employment for the rest of his life, serving him as varlet de chambre (equerry) as well as painter.

Text source: The Oxford Dictionary of Art and Artists (Oxford University Press)

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