Instytut Historii Sztuki <Posen> [Hrsg.]
Artium Quaestiones — [1].1979

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1 cm


usuai even in the ancient times and nearly unknown in western Europę in
the Middle Ages.

If anyone would attempted reading the first word TYM ... as written
with Greek majuscule “Y” — y(psilon) in minuscule written like “u” and
pronounced as U or Y its meaning definitely had to be connected with
such verbs as — tumbeio, tumboheo which means burying a dead or in-
humation in a grave or the association is connected with a noun tumbos
— TYMBOS, which always means a tomb, grave. Greek antiąue łexicon
does not know any other possibilities of interpretation of these words.

The result of using a word TYM as TUM by Jan van Eyck, read joint-
ly with a word Otheos can have only cne meaning; where Otheos would
not mean God but it would mean the inhabitants of Othey.

The majuscule Y admits both ways of reading. Then we must state
a ąuestion; is it possible to think that the artist, certainly not without a
prior clearance with the portrayed man, consciously coordinated the as-
sociations, not by means of their ambiguity but the two-level structure
of associations appearing on the ground of two separate, theoretically ac-
ceptable readings of the same text? It is possible to have a reference to
God, on one of the interpretationał surfaces, and on the other — the actu-
alization by means of reference to the recent historical events that would
stay in agreement with the artisfs mental concept about his art? The an-
swer should not be difficult if we refer to art of those times when on the
pictures showing the Crucifixion on Golgotha, within a group of Chrisfs
pupils, we can see the people who were contemporary to the artist. On
the one hand they constitute a crowd and they take part in a description of
an event so distant in its scenery and its mystical significance, on the
other hand, they create a specific situation in which if they were recogni-
zed by an observer their presenee at the scene of Crucifixion becomes the
ilłustration of their devotion.

Again, considering our portrait we can state that the association of a
word Otheos with God’s name was absolutely elear for anyone who could
read the Greek letters and its significance does not need any complex
comment. Certainly it cannot be left without any. The meaning was elear
for those who in the year 1432 remebered the battle at Othey which took
place in the year 1408. And there were still many people who survived
and even the commander of the division who played a decisive role in
that battle. Anybody who knew Latin could understand the meaning of
the word Otheos as: Otheians. The first word TYM could be interpreted
as a way to pay honours to a conąueror — the portrayed man. Even the
stone with the inscriptions would, in a sense, play a role of a tomb of the
conąuerred rebels, and at the same time the stone might become a mo-
nument of the winners and eventually of the whole family. Thus in such
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