Van Eyck – Arnolfini and His Bride

Giovanni Arnolfini and His Bride is a piece thathas a great deal of symbolism along with legal function.Done in 1434, it was done with oil on wood and is actually only 2’8″ by 1’11”.The piece was a wedding portait and displays Van Eyckslove of detail.Details such as hair had to be done with a single hair brush.
First this work shows Arnolfini’s wealth, being a silk merchant.He wears a fur coat, appearing in a room of extravigant furnishings.Also he dawns a very large hat which was symbolic of wealth at the time.His hand position is important, swearing an oath of loyalty and fidelity.This begins the functioning of a legal document.That is in this case for marriage.The placing of hands was done and then sworn in front of a noted republic.In the mirror one can see two other people,one the noted republic(in red), and Van Eyck(in blue) as a witness.He wrote; “Van Eyck was here” and dated the event.
His bride is an example of what the ideal bride should be.Aristocratic women wore white headress and hair in horns.Women would pluck their forehead back one to two inches as another expression of prestige.The green dress is associated with fertility and her form shows future pregnancy.It was probably an arranged marriage and is important to show the premenition of child birth.Due to the fact that children were important to the relationship.She looks down to show she is respectful and submissive.She is positioned by a wisk broom to show her future position at home and cleaning.
Arnolfini is postioned by an open window to show how he will go out into the world and do business.The chandelear has one lit candle that they will blow out after they consumate their marriage.In the background a statue of St. Margret is on the bed post.She is the patron saint of child birth and is yet another example of fertility.The dog is important because in latin Fido means faithful/loyal.The fruit is ri…


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