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9.2 ARTH 213 November 9th

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Art History
ARTH 214
Cathleen Hoeniger

“The Arnolfini Portrait” Jan Van Eyck 1434 Symbolism by Flemish Masters * Disguised symbols: 15th century flemish masters will have items in painted realm that blend in harmoniously in the environment *Chandler with one lit candle *1 lit candle : Presence of Christ at the event *Convex mirror *Prayer sequence: stages of Christ passion *Similar to how rosary beads aid Christian in remembering the sequence - each bead representing a stage in passion * *Dog *Symbol of fidelity *Bed *Marriage has not been consummated - unused bed *She is not actually pregnant - style of the dress of the day * Rare at the time to have an artist sign a painting *Form of legal signature *Signing as a witness of the marriage * Giovanni Arnolfini - Representative of Flanders bank * Behind them - 2 figures *One is argued to be Van Eyck - witness of holy event ANNUNCIATION - Compare/Contrast 2 images Unpack all symbolism, they are not just Annunications. There are different things emphasized in the images. ANNUNCIATION - Robert Campin Central Panel: * 2 round windows *At top left : flying little baby carrying a cross *At right: niche with copper bucket, with towel at right (hand washing) * Far right - fireplace with a candle holder above it with one candle * Table - candle stick with one candle that has been snuffed out * Vase with white lily with 3 buds on it * Virgin is sited on the ground - Madonna of humility (no crown) * Water container and white towel = spotless nature of the Virgin Mary * Emphasized aspects of Annunciation: i. Baby-like figure entering with golden ray ii.White lilies with 3 blooms on table *3 = trinity in Christianity *Annunciation - God the Father is full blown, God the son is bud (not yet been born), God the spirit iii. Candle stick on table *Prominently placed in composition *Snuffed out *Marriage practices in Northern Europe: Tradition - take the candle to the window and snuff out the candle right after the wedding before the marriage is being consummated and everyone cheers *Virgin has just been pregnated *Prominently placed in composition *Emphasis of the moment of incarnation (“carne” = flesh) - God made human flesh Emphasis: Moment of incarnation and the purity of the Virgin and her appropriateness of her as the vehicle through God made man. ANNUNCIATION - Rogier van der Weyden Studied with Robert * Well made bed (Virginity) - Indicator of Flemish artist * Virgin is startled by arrival of angel who was at prayer *Has not yet received her announcement - Image is about her readiness which makes her God’s choice * Purity & Virginity of Mary 1. Vase with white lilies 2. Vase filled with water for cleaning 3.Mantel on fireplace - Glass vase with water but no flowers : symbolic of the purity of her womb which is like a glass vase and the incarnation is like light which can shine through without breaking the glass - her virginity remains intact Emphasis: Instead of focusing on the moment of conception (like in Robert’s “Annunciation”), he focuses on specialness and why Virgin was chosen Last Judgment, Van der Weyden, 1446-52 * Work of art commiss
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