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ARTNIT

Shortly after his return after eight years in Italy, the 32-year-old Flemish Baroque painter Peter Paul Rubens married the 18-year-old Isabella Brant on 3 October 1609. The same year he painted a double portrait Honeysuckle Bower where the artist has a self-portrait and a portrait of his wife. The full title of this painting from 1609-1610 is The Artist and his First Wife, Isabella Brant, in the Honeysuckle Bower. This painting is entitled Honeysuckle Bower and housed in the Alte Pinakothek Gallery in Munich.

Double portrait The Arnolfini Wedding is considered to be a painted pictorial wedding certificate from 1434. It is believed that the scene shown is a private wedding ceremony, which celebrates married life, or a close relationship between the couple. Very little is known about the couple in the painting. Most probably, it is Giovanni di Nicolao of Arnolfini, who would have been around 34 years of age in 1434. He was a merchant from Lucca, a city in Tuscany, Italy, who spent most of his life in Flanders, then part of the Duchy of Burgundy, probably based in a wealthy trading city Bruges. The woman is most likely his second wife Constance Trenta. Giovanni and Constance had no children, and Constance died a year before the portrait was painted, in 1433.

One of the great paintings of the Netherlandish Renaissance, The Arnolfini Wedding, also known as The Arnolfini Marriage, Arnolfini's Double Portrait or The Portrait of Giovanni Arnolfini and his Wife, made Jan van Eyck in 1434. It is considered one of the most original and complex paintings in Western art, because of its beauty, enigmatic, complex iconography, geometric orthogonal perspective, and expansion of the picture space with the use of a mirror. The painting is now in the National Gallery in London.

Jan van Eyck's Arnolfini Double Portrait, also known as The Arnolfini Wedding, The Arnolfini Marriage, or the Portrait of Giovanni Arnolfini and his wife, and Diego Velázquez's group portrait Las Meninas overshadowed the time gap of two centuries, variations in style techniques, and art period influences of the two artists. Upon first glance, Arnolfini Double Portrait made in 1434 and Las Meninas made in 1656 do not look similar and are likely to vary from one another. But, more similarities than differences are evident between Arnolfini Double Portrait and Diego Velázquez's Las Meninas.

In 1957, Pablo Picasso isolated himself from his family, friends, and the world to create a series of fifty-eight paintings, variations on one of the most influential paintings in the world, Diego Velázquez's Las Meninas. The series is a confrontation with one of the most important works in the history of Spanish painting and also a commentary on contemporary events in Spain, observed by Picasso from his exile in France. By painting this series, he sought to understand the key elements of a work he admired while also giving his Las Meninas a life of their own. Pablo Picasso himself understood this series as a whole and as such donated it to the Museum in Barcelona in May 1968 in memory of his secretary and close friend Jaime Sabartés who died the same year.

Pablo Picasso was especially attracted to Diego Velázquez's masterpiece Las Meninas because it dealt with his central theme of painter and model. In 1957, he started an extended series of variations on Las Meninas where he produced a personal interpretation of the whole of Velázquez's work. Las Meninas, after Velázquez, is the first, largest, and most widely recognized variation of Las Meninas, and is the most faithful to the vertical composition created by Velázquez. It is situated in Picasso Museum, Barcelona.

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