Sunday, April 3, 2022

The Arnolfini Portrait (Great Art)

THE ARNOLFINI PORTRAIT (Jan van Eyck, Early Netherlandish, 1434)

The Arnolfini Portrait is one of the most famous "couple's portraits" in the world, as well as one of the most complex paintings in Western art. It shows a richly-dressed man and woman standing in a private room. They are believed to be Giovanni di Nicolao di Arnolfini, an Italian merchant working in Bruges, and his wife. Every object in the room has been carefully chosen to display their wealth and social status. The man's hand seems raised in greeting; a mirror in the back reflects two men entering the room, one of whom also raises his arm. (The mirror shows us the fourth wall of the room!) The painting has been in the National Gallery in London since 1842.


(Image courtesy Wikimedia Commons; CTTO)

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