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In the Early Northern Renaissance, Bruges's Jan van Eyck was a major figure in painting. His works were the first significant representatives of Early Netherlandish painting. His paintings show the beauty and elegance of life in a rural environment. He was also a prolific artist and remained active in Bruges throughout his career. 

Jan van Eyck was born in a small village near Maastricht. His first commission came from the bishop of Lige, John of Bavaria. He worked for Philip the Good, Duke of Burgundy, and was employed as an artist at the court of Lille. His most famous works are Madonna with Canon van der Paele in 1434-36 and Madonna and Child with Saints in 1437. In addition to these paintings, his brother Hubert had a strong influence on his career, and was a great supporter of the artist.

In Italy, Jan van Eyck was the most important painter of the Renaissance. He was employed by the counts of Holland and Bavaria. In 1425, he was appointed court painter to the Duke of Burgundy. During this time, he completed several secret missions for the duke, including negotiating the marriage of Philip of Burgundy with Isabella of Portugal. In 1428, he made a diplomatic trip to Lisbon, where he painted portraits of the Spanish king.

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