Louis nelson - a portrait of louis nelson

The couple Among the foreign merchants living in prosperous 15th-century Bruges were members of the Arnolfini clan from Lucca in Italy. They combined trade with finance and were the first merchant bankers. Argument has flourished over which Arnolfini this is and we will never know for sure. The best guess is that it is Giovanni di Nicolao Arnolfini, who married Costanza Trenta in 1426.

The pregnancy? Giovanni and Costanza had no recorded children and Costanza had died by 1433, the year before the portrait was painted. Is this a memorial to Costanza, who might have died in childbirth? Artists liked to pose women in a pregnant stance, whether they were or not, as fertility was an essential quality in a wife. There are other symbols of fertility, from the red bed to the rug – a rare commodity in 15th-century Northern Europe, and associated with a birthing chamber. Also, the figure carved on the chair behind the woman is St Margaret, patron saint of childbirth.

The bed This is what guests would have expected to see in a reception room. It may not have been used for sleeping in, but implied that the master of the house was of sufficiently high status to exhibit such a possession as an adornment.

Home | About | FAQ | My Account | Accessibility Statement

Louis Nelson - A Portrait Of Louis NelsonLouis Nelson - A Portrait Of Louis NelsonLouis Nelson - A Portrait Of Louis NelsonLouis Nelson - A Portrait Of Louis Nelson