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Arnolfini Wedding Essay

1267 words - 5 pages

Jan van Eyck has been one of the more prominent early Netherlandish painters during his time. He has had many famous works, however one of his more interesting and questionable pieces is The Arnolfini Portrait. There is much to be desired in this painting by the great van Eyck. Van Eyck has been a master painter most of his career, but in this painting he is able to show how his excellent painting skills can bring this painting to life. The Arnolfini Portrait, which measures 82 × 59.5 cm (32.3 × 23.4 in) is an oil painting on oak panel dated 1434. This painting is also known by other as The Arnolfini Wedding, The Arnolfini Marriage, The Arnolfini Double Portriat, or Giovanni Arnolfini and his Wife. It is one of the only 15th century paintings to survive.
This painting is considered one of the more unusual paintings because of its perspective. We are able to both ends of the space due to the mirror that he has chosen to include in the painting. This technique was very interesting at the time because it stimulated more of the viewer’s sense of space. The mirror evoked a feeling of being in the scene of the painting and witnessing it for yourself.
"In its own way it was as new and revolutionary as Donatello's or Masaccio's work in Italy- Ernst Gombrich
Van Eyck was a great oil painter and brought his paintings to life using a layering technique. Van Eyck would layer thin translucent layers of paint over and over again to build his objects. This would give a natural glow to his subjects as if they were depicted in real life. He was a sort of hyper realistic painter. He took advantage of the oil paint medium and took it to the next level of detail by doing this. In The Arnolfini Marriage, Van Eyck pays close attention to the faces of the two subjects, Giovanni Arnolfini and his wife.
If you take a closer look into the face of Giovanni there is subtle changes in the color differences. His face tends to glow underneath his hat as if it would in real like. There is a soft shadow casts onto the left side of his face which still clearly shows his high cheek bone underneath This required many small brush strokes in order to accomplish this which only van Eyck could do best. It is even speculated that he may have went so far as to use a magnifying glass when working on these small details to ensure that they were as accurate as possible. This attention to detail has not only brought the painting to life, but from a researchers point it illustrated just how important this painting was for van Eyck to paint, and important the Arnolfini wedding may have been to him.
It is said that van Eyck may have included himself in this painting. If you take a look into the far background reflected in the mirror there is a mysterious man on a turban. This easter egg inside the painting may have been deliberately placed there for several reasons. Van Eyck may have wanted the viewer to feel like they were standing with him while he was painting this image if it was...

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