Was Jan van Eyck an Alien?  Are YOU an Alien?

By Shlomo  Maital    

 Jan van Eyck was a leading Dutch painter, of the 15th C.   A new exhibition of his works opens in Rotterdam, at a leading museum.  What is unusual about the exhibition is its thesis:  Was Jan van Eyck an …..alien?




   Until van Eyck, painters painted things as they are. They made strenuous efforts to get the precise color and shape of things right. To paint gold, they used gold leaf..if they could afford it.


   Not van Eyck.  He painted gold, as the reflections of things in the gold…yellow, black, white.  He was an early kind of Impressionist.  He broke the rules. He did it his way.


   In the portrait shown above, of a pregnant woman and her husband, there is a small mirror in the background.  Some think the mirror reflects not van Eyck himself, the painter, but those who are actually looking at the painting – you and me! 


    If you are a radical innovator, then one day people will raise the same question about YOU – are you an alien? Are your ideas so weird, so rule-breaking, so out of the ordinary, that, well, you cannot be a human, because human beings do what other human beings do. Aliens do…what weird aliens do.    Judge your innovations by this criterion:   Will this innovation one day earn me an exhibition, raising the question, was he or she from Krypton (Superman’s planet) or Mars?