portrait of giovanni arnolfini and his wife

Jan van Eyck, The Arnolfini Portrait, 1434, oil on oak, 82.2 x 60 cm, The National Gallery, London. Source

Also referred to as the ‘Arnolfini Marriage’, despite not actually depicting a wedding scene, Van Eyck’s The Arnolfini Portrait is one of the most famous works in the National Gallery collection. It shows the Italian merchant Giovanni di Nicolao Arnolfini and his wife in a decorated interior setting, possibly at their home in Bruges. If you have ever studied iconography in art history, then you will probably be highly familiar with the painting’s content, such as the Latin inscription on the back wall - translation: 'Jan van Eyck was here 1434’ - and the convex mirror below the signature, which reveals two figures in the place of where the artist or viewer is situated. This, along with Giovanni’s gesture of greeting, probably indicates that the duo have recently entered the room.