Arnolfini Portrait

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    Arnolfini PortraitFrom Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    The Arnolfini Portrait

    Artist Jan van Eyck

    Year 1434

    Type Oilonoakpanel of 3 vertical boards

    Dimensions 82.2 cm 60 cm 32.4 in 23.6 in!"

    panel 84.# cm 62.# cm 33.3 in 24.6 in!

    Location $ational %allery&'ondon

    The Arnolfini Portraitis an oil painting onoakpaneldated 1434 by the Early Netherlandish painterJanvan Eyck. t is also kno!n as The Arnolfini Wedding, The Arnolfini Marriage, The Arnolfini DoublePortraitor the Portrait of Giovanni Arnolfini and his Wife, among other titles. "he painting is a smallf#ll$length do#ble portrait, !hich is believed to represent the talian merchant %iovanni di Nicolao

    &rnolfiniand possibly his !ife,'1(pres#mably in their home in the Flemishcity of )r#ges.t is consideredone of the more original and comple* paintings in Western art beca#se of the iconography,'+(the #n#s#algeometric orthogonalperspective,'3(the #se of the mirror to reflect the space,'4('(and that the portrait is

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    considered #ni-#e by some art historians as the record of a marriage contract in the form of a painting.'(&ccording to Ernst %ombrich/in its o!n !ay it !as as ne! and revol#tionary as 0onatellosor 2asaccios !ork in taly. & simple corner of the real !orld had s#ddenly been fi*ed on to a panel as ifby magic ... For the first time in history the artist became the perfect eye$!itness in the tr#est sense ofthe term/.'(igned and dated by van Eyck in 1434, it is, !ith theGhent Altarpieceby the same artist andhis brother5#bert, the oldest very famo#s panel painting to have been e*ec#ted in oilsrather thanin tempera. "he painting !as bo#ght by the National %alleryin 6ondon in 174+.

    8an Eyck #sed the techni-#e of applying layer after layer of thin transl#cent gla9es to create a painting!ith an intensity of both tone and colo#r. "he glo!ing colo#rs also help to highlight the realism, and tosho! the material !ealth and op#lence of &rnolfinis !orld. 8an Eyck took advantage of the longerdrying time of oil paint, compared to tempera, to blend colo#rs by painting!et$in$!etto achieve s#btlevariations in light and shade to heighten the ill#sion of three$dimensional forms. "he medi#m of oil paintalso permitted van Eyck to capt#re s#rface appearance and disting#ish te*t#res precisely. 5e alsorendered the effects of both direct and diff#se light by sho!ing the light from the !indo! on the leftreflected by vario#s s#rfaces. t has been s#ggested that he #sed a magnifying glass in order to paintthe min#te details s#ch as the individ#al highlights on each of the amber beads hanging beside themirror.

    "he ill#sionismof the painting !as remarkable for its time, in part for the rendering of detail, b#tpartic#larly for the #se of light to evoke space in an interior, for /its #tterly convincing depiction of a

    room, as !ell of the people !ho inhabit it/.'7(Whatever meaning is given to the scene and its details, andthere has been m#ch debate on this, according to:raig 5arbisonthe painting /is the only fifteenth$cent#ry Northern panel to s#rvive in !hich the artists contemporaries are sho!n engaged in some sortof action in a contemporary interior. t is indeed tempting to call this the first genre painting; a paintingof everyday life ; of modern times/.'

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    Description'edit(

    0etail sho!ing the male s#b=ect, probably %iovanni di Nicolao &rnolfini

    "he painting is generally in very good condition, tho#gh !ith small losses of original paint and damages,!hich have mostly been reto#ched.nfraredreflectograms of the painting sho! many small alterations,

    or pentimenti, in the #nderdra!ingA to both faces, to the mirror, and to other elements. '1B("he co#ple aresho!n in an #pstairs room !ith a chest and a bed in it d#ring early s#mmer as indicated by the fr#it onthecherry treeo#tside the !indo!. "he room probably f#nctioned as a reception room, as it !as thefashion in France and )#rg#ndy!here beds in reception rooms !ere #sed as seating, e*cept, fore*ample, !hen a mother !ith a ne! baby received visitors. "he !indo! has si* interior !oodensh#tters, b#t only the top opening has glass, !ith clear b#lls$eye pieces set in bl#e, red and greenstained glass.'1B(

    "he t!o fig#res are very richly dressedC despite the season both their o#ter garments, his tabardandher dress, are trimmed and f#lly lined !ith f#r. "he f#rs may be the especially e*pensive sablefor himandermineor miniverfor her. 5e !ears a hat of plaited stra!dyed black, as often !orn in the s#mmerat the time. 5is tabard !as more p#rple than it appears no! Das the pigments have faded over time andmay be intended to be silk velvet Danother very e*pensive item. nderneath he !ears a do#blet of

    patterned material, probably silk damask. 5er dress has elaborate daggingDcloth folded and se!ntogether, then c#t and frayed decoratively on the sleeves, and a long train. 5er bl#e #nderdress is alsotrimmed !ith !hite f#r.'1B(

    &ltho#gh the !omans plain gold necklace and the rings that both !ear are the only =e!ellery visible,both o#tfits !o#ld have been enormo#sly e*pensive, and appreciated as s#ch by a contemporaryvie!er. "here may be an element of restraint in their clothes Despecially the man befitting theirmerchant stat#s ; portraits of aristocrats tend to sho! gold chains and more decorated cloth, '1B(altho#gh/the restrained colo#rs of the mans clothing correspond to those favo#red by 0#ke ?hillip of )#rg#ndy/.'11(

    0etail sho!ing the female s#b=ect and conve* mirror

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