Comparison Of Las Meninas And Arnolfini Double Portrait

1354 words - 5 pages

Two of the most extensively analyzed works of art are Diego Velasquez's Las Meninas and Jan Van Eyck's Arnolfini Double Portrait. Both of these artist's talent won them recognition not only during their lifetime but after as well. Both Velasquez and Van Eyck have a justly earned title as the most talented artists of their respective times. A detailed examination of the details and intricacies of these artist's respective masterpieces, their similarities, and what sets them apart not just from each other but from other paintings from their time period and style, will lead the viewer to a better understanding of the mentalities of these gifted artists and how they transcend their respective genres and contemporaries to create their own artistic identities.
Arnolfini Double Portrait was painted in 1434, by Jan van Eyck; who hard already gained attention and admiration through earlier works, such as the Ghent Altarpiece. The subject of Arnolfini Double Portrait, also known as The Arnolfini Portrait, is the italian merchant Giovanni Di Nicolao Arnolfini and his first wife inside of a room filled with objects teeming with symbolism. The depth is divided into a familiar three layers, a foreground, which is composed of a dog and a pair of sandals; a middle ground which features the two main subjects of the painting; and background, which contains the rest of the objects in the painting. The painting is symmetrical and the vanishing point is not far from the center of the painting along the horizontal. The paining is filled with symbolism and items meant to portray the subjects' distinguished lifestyle. Although, what some of the objects actually symbolize can be interpreted in slightly varying ways. To begin, many of the objects in the painting are meant to portray the couple's wealth. They wear an unnecessary amount of expensive clothes in order to show their wealth. The couple's outfits are thick and even have fur, although the painting suggests that it is spring or summer, due to the amount of sunlight entering from the window and the fresh oranges (most oranges are harvest during the spring). The furniture and the drapery is impressive, and the oranges themselves are rare and are therefore a symbol of wealth. The painting also illustrates the relationship between the two subjects through various objects. The painting suggests that the subjects are married. There is a dog in between the couple, which represents loyalty. Both characters have rings on their ring fingers, which suggests that they are both married. Also, the painting shows that both characters have removed their shoes, which implies that they are standing on holy ground, such as Moses was when speaking to god through a burning bush in the bible. The reason they are on holy ground is because a holy ceremony has taken place, that is, a wedding. Notice the characters' body language is composed of the dominant husband and the submissive wife. There is also various...

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