The Arnolfini Portrait, 1434
This painting is one of my very favorites, and it is part of the collection at London’s National Gallery. Yesterday I was able to see it for the first time in person.
I’m not sure why I find it so appealing. I remember studying it in college as probably all intro to art history students do, and I loved it then. Maybe it was the first time a painting ever resonated with me. I loved the symbolism, the varied textures, the balanced composition, the incredible details, the cute little dog. Maybe it looks so real, as if I can walk right into the painting and enter another time in history. When I studied the painting in college, art historians believed it was a marriage portrait that contained a great deal of symbolism about marriage. Recent scholarship raises more questions about that original interpretation. The mysteries just make the painting more interesting.