Girl in a Green Gown: The History and Mystery of the Arnolfini Portrait

Girl in a Green Gown: The History and Mystery of the Arnolfini Portrait

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Carola Hicks, an acclaimed art historian, and witty, perceptive writer, died in 2010 just as she was finishing this book. Born in Sussex, Carola studied archaeology at Edinburgh University, and was an actress, journalist and House of Commons Researcher, before taking up an academic career.

The "Arnolfini" portrait, painted by Jan van Eyck in 1434, is one of the world's most famous paintings. It intrigues all who see it. Scholars and the public alike have puzzled over the meaning of this haunting gem of medieval art, a subtle and beautiful double portrait of a wealthy Bruges merchant and his wife. The enigmatic couple seem to be conveying a message to us across the centuries, but what? Is the painting the celebration of marriage or pregnancy, a memorial to a wife who died in childbirth, a fashion statement or a status symbol?

Using her acclaimed forensic skills as an art historian, Carola Hicks set out to decode the mystery, uncovering a few surprises along the way. She also tells the fascinating story of the painting's survival through fires, battles, hazardous sea journeys, and its role as a mirror reflecting the culture and history of the time - from jewel of the Hapsburg empire to Napoleonic war trophy. Uniquely, for a masterpiece this old, it can be tracked through every single owner, from the mysterious Mr. Arnolfini via various monarchs to a hard-up Waterloo war hero, until it finally came to rest in 1842 as an early star of the National Gallery. These owners, too, have cameo parts in this enthralling story of how an artwork of genius can speak afresh to each new generation.

Product Code 1035087
author Carola Hicks
Publisher Vintage
Published September 2012
Format Paperback
Pages 272
Dimensions 19.6 x 13 x 2.3 cm
ISBN 9780099526896
GTIN 9780099526896
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