Art Appreciation

share another interesting component of the artwork or example of symbolism that was shared in the video that they have not yet addressed. You must provide a substantive response.


This week’s second discussion post we are to view a piece of artwork and discuss the key components of the work that were discussed in the interpretation provided by the video as well as mention the details regarding the methods, tools, subjects, and social implications of the art. Then we will provide an example of symbolism and discuss the difference between the interpretation and our own impression.

There were many components discussed in the interpretation. The debate over this portrait is if was his wife and a wedding portrait. There seems to be an event going on as he is waiving to others in the room that is highlighted in the reflection that is picked up in the mirror on the wall. It is also signed by the artiest stating Van Eyck was here, like memorializing an event. The discussion of light and technique of utilizing multiple layers of oil painting help create a vibrant ambiance as well as a love and appreciation of light that was popular in the times of the Northern renaissance. The details of the intricate pictures within the picture may have been done by a single hair brush like the dog’s hair and the religious images that decorated the mirror. The social implication of the artwork show that this couple is wealthy. First off wealthy and important enough to have a portrait made, but the items in the portrait represent wealth. The quality of clothing, the woven rug, breed of dog, oranges and their representation (Smarthistory, 2011) the marvelous chandelier with only one candle that also had religious implications. All of these items show that the couple was wealthy. One example of symbolism is the one candle that symbolized one higher power of God and its presence at this event being the only candle needed.

The analysis versus my impression was a little different. I did not pick up on the wealth aspect that the portrait was trying to portray. I did notice the items but did not equate them with wealth. I believed the woman to be pregnant, but in the break down it was a dress style of the times. I also was not picking up on an event happening as I did not notice all the reflections in the mirror, but I noticed the uncomfortableness in the hand holding as he is holding the back of her hand. I also noticed the lack of eye contact as they seems din engaged. And the raising of his hand towards her as to stop her, My interpretation was of a couple that was not happy, that only had one candle, and lived in a small cramped area where the food was kept where they sleep. I thought she was pregnant and he was possibly not happy about the situation. After hearing the professionals discuss I can see I was way off.


Smarthistory. (2011, October 2). Van Eyck, portrait of Giovanni Arnolfini and his wife, 1434 (Links to an external site.) [Video file]. Retrieved from

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