Jan Van Eyck

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The Arnolfini Wedding
Corinne Callahan, Art II
The Arnolfini Wedding was painted by artist Jan Van Eyck in 1434. The painting is done in oil paint on 3 vertical oak panels. It is now located at The National Gallery in London. Jan van Eyck was a Flemish painter active in Bruges. He is generally considered one of the most significant Northern European painters of the 15th century. Jan van Eyck frequently paid attention to light, shade and texture. He has a sense of realism in his paintings. (The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed, 2011) Eyck tends to use a lot of reds and dark neutral colors. He also prefers to paint portraits or full body scenes. He aims to deceive the eye with different unique views (S. Jones, 2002) Jan van Eyck is known as the father of oil painting (Finnan, 2012). Eyck was among the first to use “atmospheric perspective” (W. Janson, H. 1995). The Arnolfini Wedding records the betrothal of the cloth merchant Giovanni Arnolfini to Giovanna Cenami. The title was given to this painting because it was thought to be a form of ``wedding certificate''. The dog in the painting is seen as a symbol of faithfulness and love. The mirror in the background has a carved frame with ten miniature medallions depicting scenes from the life of Christ (Korroch, 2009). Also the woman in the painting that appears to be pregnant isn’t really. The queen of the time was pregnant so it was trendy to look like her (W. Janson, 1995).

The figures in this painting seem awkward in a sense of that it seems like they don’t know each other. This shouldn’t be though because they just got married and the painting is a form of a wedding certificate. So if they were married shouldn’t it look like they’re in love or at least like each other? Except they don’t. Although like Art History Professor Craig Harbison said, "The painting keeps drawing me back (S.R. Buchholz, 2000).” This piece of art is unique in so many ways. With its many symbols and meanings and rich colors and...
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