Portrait of Giovanni Arnolfini (c. 1435) by Jan Van Eyck

Portrait of Giovanni Arnolfini - Jan Van Eyck - 1435

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Artwork Information

TitlePortrait of Giovanni Arnolfini
ArtistJan Van Eyck
MediumOil on Wood
Dimensions29 x 20 cm
Art MovementNorthern Renaissance
Current LocationGemäldegalerie, Berlin, Germany

About Portrait of Giovanni Arnolfini

The artwork titled “Portrait of Giovanni Arnolfini” is an oil on wood painting by the renowned artist Jan Van Eyck, dating back to 1435. This portrait is a quintessential piece of the Northern Renaissance art movement and measures 29 by 20 centimeters. Housed in the Gemäldegalerie in Berlin, Germany, the artwork falls into the genre of portraiture.

The artwork depicts Giovanni Arnolfini, a wealthy merchant, in a half-length format, showcasing intricate details that define the Northern Renaissance’s attention to realism and texture. Arnolfini is dressed in dark, somber clothes with a high degree of detail in the fabric folds, and he is portrayed with a neutral yet penetrating gaze that suggests a man of status and contemplation. His head is adorned with a lavish red chaperon—a fashionable head-dress of the time—draped artfully around his head, demonstrating Van Eyck’s skill in rendering different textures and materials. Additionally, Arnolfini’s hand holds a small object, possibly a signet or item of personal significance, highlighting the painter’s ability to imbue the portrait with symbols of the sitter’s identity and social standing. Overall, the artwork conveys a sense of power, sophistication, and the cultural values of the period through its meticulous details and Van Eyck’s masterful technique.

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