Saint Barbara by Van Eyck in New York

The exhibition ‘Unfinished: Thoughts left visible' addresses a subject critical to artistic practice: the question of when a work of art is finished. Beginning with the Renaissance masters, this scholarly and innovative exhibition examines the term 'unfinished' in its broadest possible sense, including works left incomplete by their makers, which often give insight into the process of their creation, but also those that partake of a non finite - intentionally unfinished - aesthetic that embraces the unresolved and open-ended. Some of history's greatest artists explored such an aesthetic, among them Titian, Rembrandt, Turner, and Cézanne.

Comprising 197 works dating from the Renaissance to the present -approximately forty percent of which are drawn from the museum's own collection, enhanced by major national and international loans like Saint Barbara by Jan van Eyck (1385/90-1441) from the collection of the Royal Museum of Fine Arts in Antwerp (KMSKA).

Some view this work as a grisaille, or as an independent drawing. Karel Van Mander wrote in his ‘ Het Schilder-boeck' (‘Book of Painting', 1604) that it is an underdrawing. Only the part in the air is coloured in. This work is the oldest incomplete surviving panel of painted art of the Low Countries.

Exhibition ‘Unfinished: Thoughts left visible'
March 18 - September 4
The Met Breuer
New York

(News item January 27, 2016)