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Jan Van Eyck

            Jan van Eyck was one of the greatest and most influential Flemish painters of altarpieces and portraits of the 1400's. No one knows where he was born, but historians believe van Eyck came from the village of Maaseyck in Limbourg. No record of his birthdate survives, but it is believed to have been about 1390; his career, however, is well documented. He was employed (1422-24) at the court of John of Bavaria, count of Holland, at The Hague, and in 1425 he was made court painter and valet de chambre to Duke Philip the Good of Burgundy. Van Eyck has been credited traditionally with the invention of painting in oils, and, although this is incorrect, there is no doubt that he perfected the technique. He used the oil medium to represent a variety of subjects with striking realism in microscopic detail; for example, he infused painted jewels and precious metals with a glowing inner light by means of subtle glazes over the highlights. Van Eyck received his recognition through his great works with indepth symbolism and uniqueness.
             Van Eyck's paintings often include objects with hidden symbolic meaning. There are several different interpretations of the symbolic meaning concerning his portrait of Giovanni Arnolfini and his second bride often referred to as "The Arnolfini Marriage". Marriage is a sacred union between man and woman. A wedding is one of the most important events in a woman's life. Often a wedding occurs in the present of the wedding party, family members and friends. During the 1400's a wedding ceremony was performed in the privacy of the home. Van Eyck was hired to paint a portrait of this marriage union. Some art historians, like Panofsky, claim that van Eyck was a witness to the Arnolfini wedding and the painting serves as documentation of their vows.
             Jeanne de Chenany looks pregnant in her green wedding dress, this wedding was kept private because it was a secret or maybe this type of dress was very stylish during the 1400's.

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