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Jan van Eycks Arnolfini Portrait An essay written by a renowned art historian Erwin Panofsky discusses the controversy over a famous painting The disputation was over the identification of the two people portrayed in the painting The painting was a portrait thought to be Giovanni Arnofili and his wife and the artist was Jan van Eyck Panofsky wrote this essay to prove that this painting found in 1815 which he refers to as the London portrait is identical to a picture which was once acquired by Queen Mary of Hungary among others The Hapsburg painting referring to the one owned by the Queen was lost in 1789 In my essay I will show the proof given by Panofsky that the two pictures are in fact the same By tracing the provenance of the paintings Panofsky validates his theory that the two may very well be just one The theory that the two paintings are but one has been named the Orthodox Theory Since the Hapsburg painting was lost in 1789 and the London portrait wasnt discovered until 1815 it is more than possible that the two paintings are the same The gap in time between the loss of one and discovery of the other painting is thought by Panofsky due to someone running off with the painting during the Napoleon war Panofskys essay holds much evidence to support the Orthodox Theory For instance the precise inventories of the Hapsburg painting describe a man and a woman standing in a room joining hands with a mirror reflecting them from behind That description is identical to the London painting Also both paintings were dated 1434 Still there are some controversies to explore despite the obvious descriptions of the paintings First there was an inscription on the London painting that read Johannes de Eyck fuit hic If this was translated in Latin it would read with grammatical errors Johannes van Eyck was here Since there
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