The History of Portraiture Ancient Portraiture Portrait painting can be considered as public or private art.
In it, I discovered an artwork by Cynthia von Buhler that incorporated a figure that looked oh so familiar and I finally figured it out. It appears to have been taken from a famous painting by Jan Van Eyck before c. I remember seeing it for the first time at the National Gallery in London and being surprised at how small it was after seeing slides of it greatly enlarged.
Much of the details I show here eg the Passion of Christ around the convex mirror can barely be seen with the naked eye. Anyway, here it is.
Have a close look at it.
Certainly that was the case when I was studying art history. The persons themselves, hand in hand, take the marriage vows. Margaret Koster puts forth arguments for this in an article in the Apollo. Click here to read it.
No one knows for sure who the couple are but the best guess is that it is Giovanni di Nicolao Arnolfini a merchant from Bruges and his bride Costanza Trenta who he married in By the time this portrait was painted however, inConstanza had died. So the idea that this is a commemoration of Constanza seems to be valid.
Because of her apparent bulge, there has been much debate as to whether Constanza is pregnant. The general consensus nowadays is that Constanza was not pregnant. As proof, some scholars point to the look as fashionable and others compare the pregnant look to other paintings of the time that show for instance, the Virgin Mary at the time of the annunciation ie.
Others add that the look is a symbolic way of suggesting fruitfulness in the marriage rather than an actual pregnancy. Mind you, if Constanza did die in childbirth, she would have been pregnant at some point! Everything in the painting also has a symbolic meaning. Van Eyck is generally credited with popularizing this new medium of oil painting.
This could also be the reading of the cherries outside. I love this slice of outside life. Look at how Van Eyck paints the detail of wood and brick against the cherries and leaves and sky.
And just above the opening is the glass in the window. What I find interesting is that the dog looks out at the viewer. What does this mean? The one lit candle has has most often been read as the all seeing eye of God. It has also been suggested that if indeed this is a memorial portrait, the lit candle represents the living man while the burnt out stub to the right is a metaphor for the deceased Constanza.
You can see two pairs. They were typically removed as a sign of respect. He also shows off his masery of perspective more on that below. Note also the oriental rug. In the mirror are not only reflected the couple but also two other people.
Remember Constanza died ina year before the completion of this portrait in which case, Van Eyck would not have had the actual person to paint from. As I am describing all the parts of the painting, I also see this as a showpiece for Van Eyck, revealing his talent to paint fabric, flesh, fur, metal, and all in a believable space.
If you go to the National Gallery websiteyou can really zoom in. And yet nothing is fully known — it still remains a tantalizing mystery. His symmetrical groupings thus have the stillness and rigidity of the symbol-laden ceremony of the Mass; each person and thing has its prescribed place and is adorned as befits the sacred occasion.
If you got this far, you deserve a big thank you for journeying along with me. I do appreciate it! Here is the piece by Cynthia von Buhler that caught my attention and got this whole post going!Giovanni Arnolfini, if that is his name, cannot possibly have been idealised by Jan Van Eyck.
His watery, ill-looking face in Van Eyck's Arnolfini Portrait () in the National Gallery must be pretty much what Arnolfini looked like. This is a real face. Portrait of Giovanni Arnolfini and His Wife.
By Jan van Eyck. Considered to be one of the Greatest Paintings Ever. The Arnolfini Portrait () Contents • Description • Interpretation/Meaning of The Arnolfini Portrait Greatest Portrait Paintings. Analysis and Interpretation of the Arnolfini Portrait.
The Arnolfini Double Portrait, sometimes referred to as Giovanni Arnolfini and his Bride, by Jan Van Eyck is filled with symbols related to Christianity, love, fertility, and loyalty. Three of the. Despite the lingering questions about the precise purpose of Giovanni Arnolfini and his Bride, the painting provides viewers today with great insight into both van Eyck's remarkable skill and Flemish life in the fifteenth century.
This work is a portrait of Giovanni di Nicolao Arnolfini and his wife, 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. For the next century most art historians accepted that the painting was a double portrait of Giovanni di Arrigo Arnolfini and his wife Jeanne Cenami but a chance discovery in established that they were married in , thirteen years after the date on the painting and six years after van Eyck's death.