Art critics were stunned after the restoration of a priceless 15th century painting revealed an ‘alarmingly humanoid’ depiction of the Lamb of God.
The Ghent Altarpiece by Hubert and Jan Von Eyck, which is housed at St Bavo’s Cathedral in Ghent, Belgium, has undergone a £1.8 million restoration project which first started in 2012.
The eerie ‘cartoonish’ lamb’s face has been said to be ‘alarmingly humanoid’ by the Smithsonian Magazine, while other critics have called for further research into the discovery.
During the second phase of the project, restorers found the original central panel had been modified during the 16th Century. The board depicts a lamb standing on top of an altar with a pierced chest and blood flowing into a chalice, which represents the Lamb of God.
The overpaint, which was not visible on technical documents, was removed gradually over the course of three years. Once ripped off the team were ‘shocked’ to discover its ‘intense gaze’ and ‘large frontal eyes’ on the original animal.
The representation laying under the overpaint was ‘cartoonish’ with a lamb that has a ‘more intense interaction with the onlookers’, according to Hélène Dubois, the head of the restoration project.
Dubois told the Art Newspaper the discovery came as a ‘shock for everybody-for us, for the church, for all the scholars, for the international committee following this project,’ she said.
Though the lamb’s true visage was first revealed in December last year, it has only just been picked up by social media and the art world in past weeks.
The art world has been struggling to make sense of why it was originally painted in such an anthropomorphic way and why it was changed in the 1500s.
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Source: Daily Mail