Jan van Eyck was a painter active in Bruges who was one of the early innovators of what became known as Early Netherlandish painting, and one of the most significant representatives of Early Northern Renaissance art. According to Ernst Gombrich, he invented oil painting. The surviving records indicate that he was born around 1380–1390, most likely in Maaseik, in present-day Belgium. He took employment in The Hague around 1422 when he was already a master painter with workshop assistants, and was employed as painter and valet de chambre with John III the Pitiless, ruler of Holland and Hainaut. After John's death in 1425, he was later appointed as court painter to Philip the Good, Duke of Burgundy, working in Lille until he moved to Bruges in 1429 where he lived until his death. He was highly regarded by Philip and undertook a number of diplomatic visits abroad, including to Lisbon in 1428 to explore the possibility of a marriage contract between the duke and Isabella of Portugal.
About 20 surviving paintings are confidently attributed to him, as well as the Ghent Altarpiece and the illuminated miniatures of the Turin-Milan Hours, all dated between 1432 and 1439.