The Just Judges


The Just Judges

"The Just Judges" (145 × 51 cm) is the lower left panel of the Ghent Altarpiece, by Jan Van Eyck or his brother Hubert Van Eyck.

As part of the alterpiece, it was displayed at the Saint Bavo Cathedral in Ghent, Belgium, until stolen during the night of 10 April 1934, possibly by the Belgian Arsène Goedertier (Lede, 23 December 1876Dendermonde, 25 November 1934). The bishop of Ghent received a ransom demand for 1 million Belgian francs. On 25 November 1934 the thief revealed on his deathbed that he was the only one who knew where the masterpiece was hidden, and that he would take the secret to his grave. Although several people have claimed to know its whereabouts, the painting has never been recovered and is now believed to be destroyed. The panel was replaced in 1945 by a copy by Belgian copyist Jef Vanderveken.

The panel is a prominent symbol in the novel "The Fall" (1956) by Albert Camus. Its protagonist, Jean-Baptiste Clamence, claims to have found the painting in a bar called "Mexico City", and his secret withholding of the painting empowers him, he feels, in his newfound role of "judge-penitent".

External links

* [http://judges.mysticlamb.net/ The theft of the Just Judges]


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