The immortality of a portrait


The thing and the whole of the thing

theinfill - Medieval, Tudor, Jacobean dolls house 1:12 scale - Arnolfini room but in 1616Img_3926 - 4 poss

Putting together the bits and bobs to make the 1616 room

The Arnolfini Portrait

Jonathan Jones in The Guardian ‘penned’ an interesting piece in April 2000 which covers many of the painting’s aspects and ambiguities, but also its position in the society of 1434 and today:theinfill - Medieval, Tudor, Jacobean dolls house 1:12 scale - Arnolfini room

… This looks like a real world, with real people. The key to the picture is the mirror on the wall.”

and concludes with:

… The mirror, so significantly placed between the couple, is an image of what this painting claims to be: a true reflection.

This is what Van Eyck promises his sitters centuries before the invention of photography, in this painting which is an advert for his art. Your face, your wife’s face, your dog’s face, caught as truly as when you look in the mirror before going out to sell some fine Italian silks: Jan Van Eyck can record these for you … ”

” … This affluent couple have got what the pharaohs thought they could achieve through mummification. They are preserved, along with their dog, their fine clothes, and their oranges. The meaning of this painting is that wealth – the wealth to hire Van Eyck – can purchase immortality, even if no one will be quite sure what your name was.”

 Jonathan Jones, Saturday 15 April 2000

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