Cheta Arnoldfini, Jan van Eik, 1434
- Posted by Jan van Eik
- Museum: National Gallery (London)
- Year: 1434
Description of the picture :
Cheta Arnoldfini – Jan van Eik. 1434. Wood, butter. 82.2×60
Jan van Eyk is an outstanding master of the portrait, author of paintings on religious subjects, one of the first artists to master the work with oil paints.
“Cheta Arnolfini” is a recognized masterpiece of Van Eik. He fascinates at first sight and for a long time attracts attention. There is a recognition of the seriousness of the captured moment, the presence of some symbolic meaning. The largest art critics thought of his solution, trying to understand the meaning of many objects. For a long time it was believed that Giovanni di Arrijo Arnolfini was depicted with his wife Giovanna Chen, but in 1997 it was established that they married in 1447, thirteen years after the creation of the work and six years after the death of Van Eik. Now they believe that in the picture is the cousin of Giovanni di Arrijo Giovanni di Nicolao with his wife, whose name is unknown. Arnolfini belonged to the merchant family from Luke and lived in Bruges (there were very close contacts between Italy and the Netherlands at that time).
The married couple is shown in the interior of a very rich house. A ornate Latin inscription means: “Jan van Eik was here 1434.”. In addition to her and the very fact of creating a portrait, the presence of the artist is confirmed by his reflection in the mirror on the back wall of the room. The work received a broad interpretation as a document fixing the act of marriage. In this vein, the candle is interpreted (since she is alone and burns over Giovanni, then they concluded, that the portrait is posthumous: the wife of Arnolfini died in childbirth) shoes (symbolism goes back to Old 3avet, according to the laws of which they need to be removed, entering a holy place, and the place of marriage for the Dutch was such) and the dog (she was considered a symbol of marital fidelity). However, the discussion about the content of the work is still ongoing.