Whether it is necessary to know history to understand a picture?
Historians of art resort to improbable tricks, trying to interpret this or that picture. Let`s take, for example, one of the most mysterious works of painting - “ Portrait of a couple of Arnolfini “ Jana van Eyka. So much around a picture it is thought up, invented as the facts are differently interpreted!
It would seem that for a plot! That it is simpler - the man and the woman in an interior. Stand. Everything stood. From a picture blows as rest and the world. The moment stopped. Nothing changes - and the viewer`s look, sliding according to the image, continually fades, noting details of a pair portrait.
And details begin to cause a guess behind a guess - and questions. Arnolfini is the Italian? Pale, the person, with hardly noticeable eyebrows is even more pale from a huge black hat. Appearance is not so Italian... The man is graceful, uzkoplech, is obvious not the athlete... The merchant of Renaissance - from the country where the Renaissance was born! What gesture of the man - this right hand opened to the viewer - a greeting or an oath means?
The semi-ducking of the young woman moreover the opened hand trustfully enclosed in the man`s hand gives rise to touching experience of affection in soul of the viewer. It is dressed in the clothes corresponding to fashion of that time, from - for whom all ladies seemed pregnant. And at the same time - gesture of the left hand, characteristic of the pregnant woman...
Jan van Eyk painted a picture in Bruges, in 1434 is an author`s dating (in the picture, in the unusual place - in the center, over a round convex mirror, it is written: “ Jan van Eyk was here, 1434 “) .
The long time was considered as the fact that in a picture - the merchant from Lucca Giovanni di Arrigio Arnolfini at the time of a marriage with Giovanna Cenamo. Quite recently it was established that this marriage belongs to 1447 - van Eyk several years already as in a grave by this time.
And still the man - one of Arnolfini, in the inventory of pictures of Margarita Avstriyskaya of 1516 a cloth is called “ Ernul graceful with the wife in the room “. Now it is considered to be the man Giovanni di Nicolao Arnolfini (the first Arnolfini`s cousin).
More than over definition of names of characters, historians of the head over an explanation of details of a picture break. Whether really in these details such sense is put whether really they define everything in a picture?
In a chandelier over the heads of characters - the burning candle. That it is obligatory attribute of wedding ceremony, a symbol of Christ testifying this marriage union; or the instruction that a picture - reminiscence of marriage, for Arnolfini - memory of the wife who died in childbed (over the woman`s head - too a candle, but gone out).
The frame of a round convex mirror is decorated with ten medallions with the image of the Passion of the Christ. At the left - from that party where there is a man - these images are connected with living characters, on the right - with the dead. Too a hint that the woman - already in the world of shadows?
Historians assume: between heroes of a picture, between the husband and the wife it is concluded “ marriage of the left hand “ - look how hands of characters are connected. “ Marriage of the left hand “ - marriage between people of a different social status, most often in such cases the bride came from the lowest estates (the marriage contract provided refusal of the wife of the rights for inheritance after death of the spouse in such cases for itself and the children born in marriage).
On a floor - street wooden footwear, women`s red sandals at a chair; closer to the viewer - unpainted man`s, a little splashed by dirt... From the outside world of luxury, in magnificent fashionable suits the man and the woman came here. Serious man and humble woman. The vain crowd remained behind a threshold. Timeless the viewer, observing this quiet immovability, intuitively feels boiling of passions behind house walls, behind a room window.
“ Also God told: do not approach here; remove your footwear from your legs because the place on which you stand is the Holy Land... “ (The Outcome 3:1 - 6). The man and the woman were undressed - for commission of a ceremony of wedding? Leave behind room walls the ordinary, and thus “ Holy Land “ there is half of the room in which the sacrament is made?
To the right of a mirror, on a chair back - the image is an or St. Margarita, the patroness of women in labor, or St. Marfa, the patroness of housewives, in favor of the same assumption testifies the whisk hanging near this figure...
At the left, at a window, - several oranges. The symbolics of these fruits is multidimensional: it both purity, innocence, and a reminder on fruits from a paradise garden, and fertility...
The arrangement of figures is symbolical. The woman stands near a matrimonial bed, in the depth of the room, her face is turned to the spouse, the head is inclined, the man - is closer to a window and to the viewer, to external, that is, to the world. He also looks at the viewer - and at couple entering the room (their reflections are noticeable in a mirror). Here so in a picture, in fact, two realities - public and private life are closed. Man`s - and female.
And “ capstone “ sense of a picture there is this doggie at couple legs as a fidelity symbol. Means, all - - wedding? Real, coming true this minute. Or reminiscence of it, memory of marriage of that what in fixed hour brought fidelity vows, became the wife, tried to become mother - and at will of the Lord left this world?
... Strange life the work of art remains for ever. The further time from the creator of this work alienates us - the more meanings are found by it. Losing forever, perhaps, at the same time an initial plan of the author.
You watch how everything interestingly turns out: the unprepared viewer knows nothing about this picture - except, maybe, its name. It turns out that experiences of the viewer, his impression of the image are true. Truly only this feeling of the world and rest radiated by a cloth. And somewhere on the verge of consciousness the uneasiness raid dawns.
What adds knowledge of history of characters and history of a picture to our feelings? Only - questions. And sad grief from consciousness of transience of life...]