Jan Van Eyck is meticulous.

Look at the window. All of the built house lines are perfectly vertical. Only the carpented window shutters are skew to vertical.

All of the window lead lines are painted throwing shadows. But three are not. I’ll come back to that later.

The_Arnolfini_portrait_window_detail

Let’s look at the centre of this Renaissance masterpiece. His signature. It’s off. It might not look off by much; but for Van Eyck, it’s off by a mile.

The_Arnolfini_portrait_signature

It could be nothing. A slightly offset guide line. But I don’t think so. His eye tells us almost everything is something.

A way to look at this masterpiece is to go left to right. The world, outside. Real. Natural. True. Immutable. But the further right from the window into the portrait we go, the more skewed (the vanishing point doesn’t work) the view becomes.

Van Eyck takes you from the beautiful truthful world outside and at the border, into a skewed room of the Arnolfini.

Three?

The_Arnolfini_portrait_window_detail_3

The Father. The Son. And The Holy Ghost? The Holy Trinity. No shadows? Unreal? An apostate’s rendering?

And, a mirror image where there should not be one.

The eyes of Van Eyck.

References:

[1] https://www.nationalgallery.org.uk/paintings/jan-van-eyck-the-arnolfini-portrait