A NEW show of the work of Van Eyck is opening at the National Gallery in London. This autumn, his oil painting the Arnolfini portrait, is set to be exhibited at the National Gallery, providing a unique opportunity to view Pre-Raphaelite paintings next to the work that inspired them. The National Gallery received the Arnolfini portrait in 1842 and immediately captivated the Victorian audience. The Netherlandish/Flemish Van Eyck is one of the most significant representatives of Northern Renaissance art.
The Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood was made up of a group of young artists who sparked a revolution in British art. The Convex mirror in the Arnolfini painting is a key motif and it led the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood to explore the themes of distortion, doubling, and reflection. The painting has left an imprint on the Pre-Raphaelites’ work, spreading its motifs like the mirror device, seen in Dante Gabriel Rossetti’s Lucrezia Borgia and a pair of pointed slippers seen in Holman Hunt’s The Lady of Shalott.
The convex mirror has been an important source of inspiration for many generations of artists and so Van Eyck’s influence lives on.
by Marco Pretara
The exhibition, Reflections: Van Eyck and the Pre-Raphaelite’s is on from October 2, 2017 until April 2, 2018 at the National Gallery, London WC2N 5DN
Tel: 020 7747 2885
Front Page Image: Portrait of Giovanni Arnolfini and his Wife 1434 by Jan Van Eyck, Courtesy of The National Gallery London