The Portrait And The Arnolfini Marriage By Jan Van Eyck Essay

1643 Words Oct 11th, 2016 7 Pages
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 di Arrigo Arnolfini who married Jeanne Cenami in 1447, though many sources just state that Giovanni Arnolfini married her. The lack of clarification on which Giovanni Arnolfini married Cenami has led to much confusion in the identities of the couple in the painting. Due to the failure to check genealogy, the idea that this is Giovanni Arnolfini and Jeanne Cenami has consistently been published in books. Giovanni di Nicolao and Costanza married in 1426. It is also known that Costanza died sometime before 1434. As well as incorrect labelling of the subjects, the portrait was described as a marriage contract by Marcus van Vaernewijck in 1568. Van Vaernewijck has been discredited as a reliable source. Because of the lack of labels on the…

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