comparing it to the pouting fashionista Derek Zoolander. The restored exterior panels, including ones portraying Adam and Eve, will be separated into pairs and presented in the museum, next to similar or contrasting works by other artists of the period, like Fra Angelico and Masaccio. After causing a stir on social media, the unveiling of a restored panel kicks off a year celebrating the late-medieval master Jan van Eyck. Inside, displayed in a huge glass vitrine, was the nearly 600-year-old masterpiece by the brothers Hubert and Jan van Eyck, its details defined and its colors vibrant and joyful, as they must have been when it was painted. It was not a botched job.”, But luckily, restorers discovered that there was also a very thick layer of varnish between the original painting and the newer version, which made it relatively easy for them to remove that layer to get back to van Eyck’s work, Ms. Dubois said. In the previous 48 hours, a side-by-side of the panel before and after restoration had gone viral on Twitter, with Smithsonian Magazine calling the new lamb “alarmingly humanoid” and users comparing it to the pouting fashionista Derek Zoolander. A side-by-side look at the two images was widely shared on Twitter. “It actually moved me. More: 150 year old painting appears to show a woman using an iPhone, In the case of the Ghent altarpiece, whose central panel is titled, 150 year old painting appears to show a woman using an iPhone. Although there is still debate among scholars as to … In the case of the Ghent altarpiece, whose central panel is titled Adoration of the Mystic Lamb, everyone is pretty mad that the restorers did too good of a job. The show features 13 original van Eyck paintings — more than half of the 22 extant known works — shown alongside 100 artworks by contemporaries from the late Middle Ages. The audience at the unveiling ceremony on Jan. 24. The unveiling of the lamb panel was the first event in what is being called here “The Year of Van Eyck,” and the return of the newly restored central panel to the cathedral is accompanied by a landmark exhibition at Ghent’s Museum of Fine Arts called “Van Eyck: An Optical Revolution,” which opens Feb. 1 and runs through April 30. The restored lamb’s face. Nothing like this had ever been observed on early Netherlandish painting. The 15th century painting in St Bavo’s Cathedral in Belgium is thought to be the first major artwork to use oil paint. The lamb’s face, at the center of the largest panel on the front, is no bigger than a walnut. “Of course, it’s more intense than I expected,” Ms. Dubois said. The altarpiece is made up of 20 paintings on the front and back of 12 panels. It is an absolute must-see on your weekend break to Ghent. St. Bavo’s Cathedral and Lukas-Art in Flanders; KIK-IRPA. You’re just used to this demure, passive lamb and then you’re confronted with this very strong vision of the religious symbol of Christ being sacrificed on the altar. The Ghent altarpiece was commissioned for a private chapel in St. Bavo’s Cathedral around 1420. It was Friday morning, just hours before she was set to reveal the $2.4 million, multiyear restoration she had led on panels of one of the world’s great artistic treasures: “The Adoration of the Mystic Lamb,” also known as the Ghent Altarpiece. The restoration of the altarpiece, which began with a study of the painting by a consortium of international experts in 2012, has revealed that a substantial amount of it was reworked in the 16th century, about 120 years after it was originally painted. Restoring old paintings is never an easy job. The sheep, which was painted over in 1550, has now been fully revealed in a multi-million restoration project. Most of the altarpiece’s front, including the “Mystic Lamb” panel and the unrestored top panels, will remain in the cathedral. Because she could see the original image of the lamb emerging over a span of time, rather than in the instant way people look at side-by-side comparisons on Twitter, she said, she didn’t find it shocking to realize that the eyes were facing forward, and the lamb was far more alert than in the overpainted version. The massive work, created from 20 paintings on the front and back of 12 panels, is an astounding work of art. It’s the details that may stir the most discussion, as shown already by the recent social media excitement. “But this is what van Eyck’s intention was. The Ghent Altarpiece, parts of which have been restored, at St. Bavo’s Cathedral in Ghent, Belgium, before a ceremony to unveil it on Jan. 24. The original, human-like face of the lamb (left) in the Ghent Altarpiece was disguised by a 16th-century overpainting that "neutralized" its expression (right). To have an exhibition where you can see them so close is so extraordinary, to be able to see all the wonderful details.”. Reportedly, only 5% of the original paint has been lost in the process. Matthias Diependaele, the finance and cultural heritage minister of Belgium’s Flemish region, cutting a ribbon to the chamber of the cathedral where the altarpiece is displayed. The Ghent Altarpiece, or ‘The Adoration of the Mystic Lamb’ by the Van Eyck brothers, completed in 1432, is recognised worldwide as a great work of art, and one of the most influential paintings ever made. The face of the “Mystic Lamb” before restoration. Ms. Dubois, the restorer, said that at some point in the 1500s another painter, or perhaps a group of painters, decided that it needed a reworking. “A lot of misunderstandings have been propagated by absolutely stupid tweets taken completely out of context,” Ms. Dubois said as she opened the secure chamber at St. Bavo’s Cathedral that held the altarpiece. The Ghent altarpiece was commissioned for a private chapel in St. Bavo’s Cathedral around 1420. Although there is still debate among scholars as to its precise origins, the current consensus is that it was conceived and designed by Hubert van Eyck, who died in 1426, and completed by his younger brother, Jan van Eyck, by 1432. The original head of the lamb, for example, was “in very good condition,” she said. “Basically, we have been looking at a masterpiece by someone else,” Ms. van Dam said in an interview at the museum. They may have wanted to change the painting for theological reasons — this was, after all, the middle of the Protestant Reformation and the Catholic Church was rewriting its doctrines at the Council of Trent — or because painting styles had changed. In the case of the Ghent altarpiece, whose central panel is titled Adoration of the Mystic Lamb, everyone is pretty mad that the restorers did too good of a job. Hélène Dubois, who led the restoration of a panel of the altarpiece, talking to reporters at the cathedral on Friday. “You see how small it is?” Ms. Dubois said. “We have many, many examples from the early Middle Ages and late antiquity, including Roman mosaics, which show the lamb with these very large frontal eyes, gazing at us to make it very identifiable as the Lamb of God.”. Both painters worked in a studio with students, and so support probably came from other painters, too. (One of the original lower panels, known as the “Righteous Judges” panel, was stolen and continues to be missing; it is represented by a copy. “When they depart back to the cathedral, you’ll have this distance again. “He is not the first one who painted the lamb in that way,” Ms. Dubois said. It’s nothing bizarre; it’s just not what people are used to looking at and perhaps do not expect.”. Detail of the Ghent Altarpiece (open) by Jan van Eyck, 1432, St. Bavo’s Cathedral, Ghent, Belgium, via Closer to Van Eyck. The whole painting was redone, she said, “not only the lamb but all the draperies, the top part of the landscape, the sky and the city view, and on the reverse of the wings, about 70 percent was overpainted.”, She added: “What is peculiar about this one is that it was extremely carefully done so that all the contours of the figures were respected and most of the colors were reproduced with very high-quality pigments.