In addiction, characters of three dimension and distance between characters and space are specifically illustrated. The mirror reflects the depth of field, a means of painting within a painting is employed to contain more messages into the painting. This novel illustrating method is not coming out of the tradition of painting in the Middle Age, but from the painter’s personal observation and creativity. Ever since oil paint becomes the dominant medium for painting because of its pigment transparent light performance conductive to depict reflective objects, mirrors, glasses and metal products are widely embraced by painters to put into paintings so as to bring up the theme, to vividly strengthen the painting, and also pass the symbolic meaning through the way of reflection. This artwork piece of Arnolfini Wedding Portrait is assisted through the mirror to portray its composition. The mirror back on the wall reflecting the indoor scene records the critical moment of the wedding ceremony in the means of picture-in-picture presentation. The mirror reflects the two newlyweds and two other witnesses in the wedding scene, as well as the bedchamber door that fails to be depicted in front of the couple. The image out of the convex mirror is distorted, especially the part by the edge of the mirror. The shape is intensively bended along the rounded curve. The tone of the reflection is relatively darker compared with the actual colour of the characters and furniture.

In this case, the characters and furnitures are outlined by the surrounding light. Considering the ongoing scene in the painting as well as the space and mirror reflection, we are able to reconstruct the entire wedding scene alive. This piece of secular painting with the frame decorated with the Passion of Jesus Christ and resurrection, and the rosary next to the hanging mirror, reveals the meaning of the religious space. The mirror painted with the image of Jesus Christ implies the presence of Jesus, while the rosary is served as a symbol of the Virgin Mary’s intercession. The secular marriage is thus transformed into a religious sacred scene.




The painting looks like on its surface only composing an ordinary domestic scene, but in fact the esoteric meaning is hidden behind the scene. The groom raising his right hand indicates a ritual, a symbol of committed love, while the bride putting out her right hand on the groom’s left hand, is swearing to be the husband forever faithful companion. Everything in the bedchamber is related with a fulfilling matrimony symbolism. The front puppy and the mirror on the wall symbolize fidelity and pureness, whilst the windowsill and oranges on the chest indicate virginity of the bride. It is symbolized the purity of the bride by the single candle burning in the left rear holder of the ornate chandelier. The two pairs of clogs lying in the floor suggest the couple are standing barefoot while making a solemn commitment to each other, which allude to the belief that the bedchamber is a holy place for tying the knot. The men’s clogs being placed in the front near the door means the man conducts business outside of the home, and on the other hand, the women’s clogs being set in the back of the bedroom refers the woman stays at home to look after the family and household. Then the bedside carving is related to a symbolic blessing with women’s child bearing.


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