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Jan Van Eyck - Arnolfini Double Portrait


So I'm currently in my third year of my BA in Art History and with my courses I see repeated pieces of art.  This paining I swear is stalking me.  I first saw it in year 11 Visual Art and I thought it was the most creepiest painting ever.  Fast forward to now, I still think it's creepy but the painting itself is amazing due to the artist's technique, and how realistic it is.

When I first saw the painting it was the two figures that kind of put me off.  They kind of look like long skinny dolls which creepy faces, especially the male figure.  Apart from that the other features of the room are skilfully done by van Eyck, who was said to be one the greatest painters of all time, and the first to master oil paint.  It’s his use of oil paint that allows him to achieve the bright colours of the red bed and the green dress.  It also allows him to masterfully create tonal modelling, giving the painting depth and making the setting look like a realistic space.  He is also very skilful with light and shadow, as seen on the chandelier, which adds to the reality of the painting.  A cool feature of the work is the mirror on the wall behind them.  Looking at it you can see the reflection of the scene and see that there are two other figures in the room, one of them possibly being the artist.
The scene depicted is said to celebrate the marriage of the two figures.  The painting is full of symbolism which adds significance to the work.  The dog at their feet, with his skilfully done fur represents loyalty and possibly wealth.  The colour green represents hope, possibly referencing her desire to have children, which was an important aspect women in the 15th century had to fulfil.

Hope you all enjoyed this post

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