The Arnolfini Portrait

original title

The Arnolfini Wedding. Portrait of Giovanni Arnolfini and his Wife Giovanna Cenami (The Arnolfini Marriage)

The artwork




Oil, panel

Northern Renaissance
83.7 x 57 cm


The artist

Johannes de Eyck


Flemish, Netherlands

Where to see it

The National Gallery Collection

"I do as I can."
Johannes van Eyck (The inscription on the frame of Man in the Red Turban)

Why we love it

This work was created almost 100 years before the Mona Lisa, and it became an icon of the Northern Renaissance, both for its aesthetics, its innovative pictorial techniques and its symbolism. It has become an informative document on the society of the 15th century and one of the most important mysteries in the history of art.

There are two great theories about the mysteries that surround this work:
Some believe that the painting represents the moment of a marriage in secret in the presence of two witnesses reflected in the mirror, one of them being the painter himself, confirmed by the inscription “Jan van Eyck was here in 1434”. The woman is Giovanna Cenami and she would not be pregnant, she just holds her voluminous coat over her chest, which was common at the time to show her wealth.
The second opinion is that the work represents two characters already married, where she is Constanza Trenta, who would be pregnant but sadly would die in childbirth.

What was the real purpose of this painting? The work is a mystery to be solved according to the clues it offers in the clothes, colors, inscriptions, positions of the bodies, the richness of the room, and other details that have appeared after numerous studies, which continue to offer doubts about its meaning and the people portrayed.

An enjoyment for the imagination and lovers of stories.

This is just our small contribution, your curiosity can do the rest.


“Under new managment”

After a marriage...

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