Girl in a Green Gown: The History and Mystery of the Arnolfini Portrait

Girl in a Green Gown: The History and Mystery of the Arnolfini Portrait

Paperback

By (author) Carola Hicks

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  • Publisher: VINTAGE
  • Format: Paperback | 272 pages
  • Dimensions: 129mm x 198mm x 21mm | 278g
  • Publication date: 6 September 2012
  • Publication City/Country: London
  • ISBN 10: 0099526891
  • ISBN 13: 9780099526896
  • Illustrations note: Illustrations (some col.), ports. (some col.)
  • Sales rank: 72,296

Product description

The Arnolfini portrait, painted by Jan van Eyck in 1434, is one of the world's most famous paintings. This haunting gem of medieval art, a subtle and beautiful portrait of a wealthy Bruges merchant and his wife, intrigues all who see it. Is the painting the celebration of marriage or pregnancy, a memorial to a wife who died in childbirth, a fashion statement or a status symbol? Using her acclaimed forensic skills as an art historian, Carola Hicks set out to decode the mystery. She also tells the fascinating story of the painting's survival through fire and battle, and of its owners. Uniquely, for a masterpiece of its age, its provenance can be tracked through every single owner - from the mysterious Mr Arnolfini via various monarchs to being an early star of the National Gallery in 1842- and these owners have a cameo appearance too, in this enthralling story of how an artwork of genius can speak afresh to each new generation.

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Author information

Carola Hicks, an acclaimed art historian, and witty, perceptive writer, died in 2010 just as she was finishing this book. Born in Sussex, Carola studied archaeology at Edinburgh University, and was an actress, journalist and House of Commons Researcher, before taking up an academic career. For several years she was curator of the Stained Glass Museum at Ely Cathedral, and then became a Fellow and Director of Studies in art history at Newnham College, Cambridge. Her books include Animals in Early Medieval Art, Improper Pursuits: The Scandalous Life of Lady Di Beauclerk, and two fine 'biographies' of works of art: The Bayeux Tapestry: The Life Story of a Masterpiece and The King's Glass: A Story of Tudor Power and Secret Art.

Review quote

"I was bowled over... It is a book of page-turning vignettes" Daily Telegraph "Exploring the double portrait in revelatory detail, Hicks presents a truly inspiring picture of her own" The Times "The book has sent me back to the painting...with wider and more inquisitive eyes" -- Peter Conrad Observer "An author who opens our eyes, deepens our understanding and makes us keen to look again" -- Frances Spalding Daily Mail "Hicks tells a truly fascinating story about image and ownership, based on diligent, well-digested research" -- Vera Ryan Irish Times

Editorial reviews

Engaging

Back cover copy

The Arnolfini portrait, painted by Jan van Eyck in 1434, is one of the world’s most famous paintings. This haunting gem of medieval art, a subtle and beautiful portrait of a wealthy Bruges merchant and his wife, intrigues all who see it. Is the painting the celebration of a marriage or pregnancy, a memorial to a wife who died in childbirth, a fashion statement or a status symbol? Using her forensic skills as an art historian, Carola Hicks sets out to decode the mystery. She also tells the story of the painting’s survival through fire and battle, and of its owners. Uniquely for a masterpiece of its age, its provenance can be tracked through every single owner – from the mysterious Mr Arnolfini to being an early star of the National Gallery in 1842 – and these owners have a cameo appearance too, in this enthralling story of how an artwork of genius speaks afresh to each new generation. ‘Exploring the double-portrait image in often revelatory detail, Hicks presents a truly inspiring picture of her own’ The Times, Books of the Year ‘An author who opens our eyes, deepens our understanding and makes us keen to look again’ Frances Spalding, Daily Mail ‘This book has sent me back to the painting…with wider and more inquisitive eyes’ Observer