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Portrait of Giovanni(?) Arnolfini and his Wife

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You are viewing image NG186

Jan van EYCK , active 1422; died 1441

Portrait of Giovanni(?) Arnolfini and his Wife


Short title: The Arnolfini Portrait
Date: 1434
Medium: Oil on oak
Dimensions: 82.2 x 60 cm
Acquisition credit: Bought, 1842

This work is a portrait of Giovanni di Nicolao Arnolfini and his wife Giovanna Cenami, but is not intended as a record of their wedding. His wife is not pregnant, as is often thought, but holding up her full-skirted dress in the contemporary fashion. Arnolfini was a member of a merchant family from Lucca living in Bruges. The couple are shown in a well-appointed interior.

A carved figure of Saint Margaret(?) appears on the chairback. The dog, shoes, single burning candle, prayer beads, brush, oranges, etc., have been variously interpreted as having religious, nuptial and sexual significance.

The ornate Latin signature translates as 'Jan van Eyck was here 1434'. The similarity to modern graffiti is not accidental. Van Eyck often inscribed his pictures in a witty way. The mirror reflects two figures in the doorway. One may be the painter himself. Arnolfini raises his right hand as he faces them, perhaps as a greeting.

Van Eyck was intensely interested in the effects of light: oil paint allowed him to depict it with great subtlety in this picture, notably on the gleaming brass chandelier.

Keywords

Interior, Indoors, Indoor, Inside, Room, Bedroom, Chamber, Domestic, House, Man, Woman, Lady, Male, Female, Adults, Couple, Married, Wedding, Bethrothal, Oath, Love, Husband, Wife, Wealthy, Rich, Ornate, Merchant, Bed, Window, Door, Doorway, Chandelier, Mirror, Reflection, Passion, Decorated, Frame, Roundel, Chair, Chairback, St Margaret, Dog, Oranges, Fruit, Citrus, Shoes, Clogs, Shoe, Brass, Stained Glass, Two people, 2 people, Green, Dress, Costume, Clothes, Hat, Headwear, Head wear, Headdress, Veil, Coat, Rosary, Beads, Candle, Flame, Material, Velvet, Fur, Fabric, Fashionable, Clasped, Hand, Hands, Fidelity, Portraits, Portraiture, Portrait, Northern Renaissance

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This image is part of the group:

"The Arnolfini Portrait Details"

Other images in group:

The Arnolfini Portrait
NG186
The Arnolfini Portrait - in Frame
NG186.D9
The Arnolfini Portrait - detail of mirror and rosary
NG186.D1
The Arnolfini Portrait - detail of Giovanni di Nicolao Arnolfini
NG186.D2
The Arnolfini Portrait - detail of Giovanna Cenami
NG186.D3
The Arnolfini Portrait - detail of hands
NG186.D4
The Arnolfini Portrait - detail of shoes
NG186.D5
The Arnolfini Portrait - detail of dog
NG186.D6
The Arnolfini Portrait - detail of chandelier
NG186.D7
The Arnolfini Portrait - detail of oranges
NG186.D8