The Art and Where to Find It

Portrait of Giovanni di Nicolao Arnolfini and his wife

Artist: Jan Van Eyck

Year: 1434

Location: Phoenix Enterprises, Vicarage Lane. The original is on display at The National Gallery, London.

An oil painting on oak panel of Giovanni di Nicolao Arnolfini and his wife, considered to be one of the most original and complex paintings in Western art history. The work is an example of Van Eyck's intense interest in the effects of light and is one of the first examples of an oil painting with an almost reflective surface, created by applying layer after layer of translucent thin glazes. The complexities and minute details can be seen in the gleaming brass chandelier and the reflection in the convex mirror of two figures in the doorway. One may be the painter himself. The elaborate Latin signature on the back wall translates as "Jan van Eyck was here 1434." Jan Van Eyck, Portrait of Giovanni di Nicolao Arnolfini and his wife Copyright The National Gallery, London.