Saturday, 15 March 2008

This can't be right

22 Jan van Eyck, Ghent altarpiece
(c1425-1433) St Bavo's Cathedral, Ghent
Getting there: easy

Using transparent layers of paint, bound by an oil medium, Jan van Eyck conjured up an almost hallucinatory facsimile of textures and surfaces. The sparkle of jewels, the hairs of a beard, the feathers of an angel's wing - in his work such things appear in a manner that still, nearly six centuries later, seems almost miraculous. This is one of the most enthralling achievements in the history of art.

D Eurostar to Brussels, then local train 23 Statue of Coatlícue (15th century) Aztec; Museo Nacional de Anthropologia, Mexico City Getting there: Bearable Her severed head replaced by two fanged serpents, her hands and feet transformed into claws, a necklace of severed hands and hearts, Coatlícue is at once the greatest of Aztec sculptures and the most fearsome. When this nightmarish work was dug up in the 18th century, it was nervously reburied. Coatlícue embodies the power of art to terrify.

  • Twelve hours non-stop by air

    The World's 50 Best Works of Art (and how to see them) - Telegraph

  • Twelve hours by plane from London to Ghent? Local train 23 to Mexico City? But why? The power of art to terrify? I'll say.