Arnolfini Portrait Analysis

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Known by many different names, including Arnolfini Double Portrait and The Arnolfini Marriage, Jan van Eyck painted The Arnolfini Portrait (Figure 1). The portrait is an eighty-two by sixty centimetres oak panel created with oil paints. Though it is not what year van Eyck began this painting, it is dated as complete in 1434.
The Arnolfini Portrait depicts Giovanni di Nicolao Arnolfini and his wife, Costanza Trenta. In 1861, William Henry James Weale assumed that the Giovanni Arnolfini depicted in the double portrait was the same Giovanni Arnolfini who married Jeanne (Giovanna) Cenami; however, Weale did not account for the fact that Giovanni di Nicolao Arnolfini had a cousin, by nearly the same name, who also lived in Bruges. It was Giovanni
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If a person stood in the portrait’s room and looked in the mirror, the details would not be as clear as van Eyck paints them. Not only are the details of the mirror too clear, the mirror itself is too low on the wall to have much use; however, van Eyck most likely positioned the mirror there for the scene to be reflected back easily. The minuscule details of the portrait are a way for van Eyck to demonstrate his prowess with oil paints. Due to van Eyck’s desire to demonstrate his mastery of the new medium, he often overcompensates and unintentionally creates an unrealistic view. Furthermore, this allows modern art historians a chance to interpret how van Eyck painted Realism. On numerous occasions, van Eyck depicts details that would not be clear in a realistic depiction. These details are where van Eyck’s Realism merges into a more symbolic nature. Though Symbolism does not directly mean an idealised form, it is associated with it. Symbolism and Realism are linked through the idealised form in van Eyck’s The Arnolfini Portrait. Looking at the portrait, the details are much too idealised in their depiction (Figure 1). A prime example of idealisation is the dog (Figure 4). Each individual strand of the dog’s fur is visible, which is idealised, but realistically, the human eye can barely tell the difference of fur up …show more content…
Though the detail work on these specific items is not necessarily over exaggerated, it is more clear than it would be realistically. ‘The abundance of rich furs is perhaps surprising, since the cherries are visible through the open window to indicate that the season is high summer. The furs enabled the couple to show off their wealth,’ this is not at all surprising given the other subtle reminders of the wealth of the couple. It is not necessary for Costanza to be

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