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The Arnolfini Marriage by Jan Van Eyck

Cross stitch chart or kit from the Scarlet Quince Renaissance Fine Art Collection.

Jan van Eyck or Johannes de Eyck; (before c.1395 – before 1441) was an Early Netherlandish painter active in Bruges and considered one of the best Northern European painters of the 15th century.

There is a common misconception, which dates back to the sixteenth-century Vite of the Tuscan artist and biographer Giorgio Vasari, that Jan van Eyck invented oil painting. It is however true that he achieved, or perfected, new and remarkable effects using this technique. Thus, due to his early mastery of the technique, he has often been referred to as the "father of oil painting."

Jan van Eyck has often been linked as brother to painter and peer Hubert van Eyck, because both have been thought to originate from the same town, Maaseik in Limburg (Belgium). Another brother, Lambert van Eyck is mentioned in Burgundian court documents, and there is a conjecture that he too was a painter, and that he may have overseen the closing of Jan van Eyck's Bruges workshop. Another significant, and rather younger, painter who worked in Southern France, Barthélemy van Eyck, is presumed to be a relation.

The Arnolfini Portrait is an oil painting on oak panel dated 1434 by the Early Netherlandish painter Jan van Eyck. It is also known as The Arnolfini Wedding, The Arnolfini Marriage, The Arnolfini Double Portrait or the Portrait of Giovanni Arnolfini and his Wife.

This painting is believed to be a portrait of the Italian merchant Giovanni di Nicolao Arnolfini and his wife, presumably in their home in the Flemish city of Bruges. It is considered one of the most original and complex paintings in Western art history. Both signed and dated by Van Eyck in 1434, it is, with the Ghent Altarpiece by the same artist and his brother Hubert, the oldest very famous panel painting to have been executed in oils rather than in tempera. The painting was bought by the National Gallery in London in 1842.

The illusionism of the painting was remarkable for its time, in part for the rendering of detail, but particularly for the use of light to evoke space in an interior, for "its utterly convincing depiction of a room, as well of the people who inhabit it".

Although many modern viewers assume the wife to be pregnant, this is not believed to be so. Art historians point to numerous paintings of female saints similarly dressed, and believe that this look was fashionable for women's dresses at the time. Fashion would have been important to Arnolfini, especially since he was a cloth merchant. The more cloth a person wore, the more wealthy he or she was assumed to be. We also know that the woman is not pregnant because Giovanna Cenami (the identification of the woman according to most earlier scholars) died childless, as did Costanza Trenta (now the more likely identification according to recent archival evidence). As mentioned above, some viewers have argued that the woman in the portrait is already pregnant, thus the protruding belly. Harbison, however, maintains her gesture is merely an indication of the extreme desire of the couple shown for fertility and progeny.

It is also believed that the couple is already married because of the woman’s headdress. A non-married woman would have her hair down, according to Margaret Carroll.

Approx: 19" x 27" or 49 x 68cm - when worked on 18ct.

You can also choose to have this design in kit form - list of DMC threads used.

There are more fine art designs by Van Eyck in the Cross Stitch Collectibles Collection.

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