Jan van Eyck: The Arnolfini Portrait (1434)

(National Gallery, London, UK)

The Flemish master Jan van Eyck was a very influential painter from the 15th century. Jan van Eyck was a master with oil paints and achieved very realistic effects in his paintings. This is one of his most famous work, together with the Ghent Altarpiece. The identity of the couple is not exactly known. It is thought to be the Italian merchant Giovanni di Nicolao Arnolfini with either his recently deceased first wife Costanza Trenta or his second wife. The woman is not pregnant, she is holding her full-skirted dress in the contemporary fashion. A very nice effect is the mirror in the background. in the mirror you can see the reflection of the couple and two figures who are in a doorway. One of these may be Jan van Eyck. Arnolfini raises his right hand to greet them. The graffiti on the wall is a signature of Jan van Eyck - it reads "Johannes de eyck fuit hic 1434" (or "Jan van Eyck was here 1434"). Painting from 1434.