Infrared detail of an angel in the Ghent Altarpiece, showing the underdrawing (IRR assembly from vaneyck.kikirpa.be)
Belgium’s Royal Institute for Cultural Heritage in Brussels has created a new website for images of the Van Eyck brothers’ celebrated Ghent Altarpiece, one of the most important works of Northern Renaissance art.
Only a preview version of the site is currently available, and its images are limited to infrared reflectography made during the recent restoration of the altarpiece. Infrared reflectography (IRR) is a tool in the technical examination of a painting to reveal the preliminary sketches, or underdrawings, that lie beneath the paint surface. These underdrawings often provide clues to the artistic process, such as what changes the artist made along the way, or even who the artist was.
The full site is expected to launch in January 2012, and it will presumably also contain full-color views and details of the altarpiece.
You can read a description of the project here, or visit the preview site at vaneyck.kikirpa.be.