Art Blogmas is back!

Since you loved Art Blogmas last year so much, we decided to bring it back again this year. Continue reading to find out what this year’s theme is.

December is my favourite month of the year! I love everything about Christmas. From spending a lot of time with my friends and family, watching Christmas movies, decorating my house to trying out some new cookie recipes.

Art Blogmas 2021

In the art world, December is also a time of some lovely exhibitions, art markets and many beautiful festive events in museums. Sadly, this year, many of those art events are cancelled again.

But, that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t enjoy in some beautiful art this December. I decided to create some new virtual art experiences for you this year again. Meaning, the whole month of December will be dedicated to Art Blogmas here at the Culture Tourist.

Last year’s Art Blogmas theme was Winter in art. However, this year I picked some of the most beautiful artworks from European museums, and I’ll share them with you during the next 24 days.

Read more: A guide for the perfect museum visit

How the Art Blogmas is going to work

Each morning at 7:30 am, you’ll find a new post here with a painting I curated for you and a short story about it. It’s going to be a lovely tale to read with your morning coffee.

So, shall we start with day 1 of our Art Blogmas 2021?

Jan van Eyck: Arnolfini Portrait

Where is it? National Gallery, London

Created in 1434, this painting is one of the first artworks made with oil paint rather than with tempera. It’s also one of the first paintings in western art showing artists’ contemporaries in their everyday life surroundings. The painter showed portraits of Italian merchant Giovanni di Nicolao Arnolfini and his wife in their home in Bruges.

Van Eyck focused on details to show the wealth of the people he portrayed there. That’s not only visible in the interior of their house, with a large chandelier, mirror, oriental carpet and some nice furniture. Even some items, like oranges, were rare and expensive in Flanders back then.

However, the clothes they are wearing is especially showing their wealth. Materials like fur or silk were costly back in the 15th century. The dark black clothes Giovanni di Nicolao is wearing shows his wealth, too. The jewellery is here to show their social status, as well.

Read more: Virtual museum visits – Jan van Eyck at MSK in Ghent

Some researchers think Jan van Eyck painted this double portrait after Giovanni di Nicolao’s wife, Constanza Trenta, died during childbirth a year before. Although it’s not known for sure, some details on the painting are in favour of this theory. Some of them are his dark clothes, scenes from the passion of the Christ on the mirror’s frame or the snuffed candle above the woman.

Besides that, small details are what makes this painting such a masterpiece. The most notable are two figures we can see in a small mirror in the back. From some of Jan van Eyck’s self-portraits on other paintings, many researchers think he painted himself in red clothes.

A couple’s pet, a small dog, is an early representative of a breed known today as Brussels griffon. In this painting, he could also symbolise loyalty.

Although the lady seems pregnant, that doesn’t need to be the case. These kinds of dresses were quite fashionable at the time. And since her husband was the cloth merchant, it’s understandable she’s wearing many layers of clothes, as it was popular back then.

Read more: Jan van Eyck & the Ghent Altarpiece

However, her gesture of holding a hand on her belly could show a desire of a couple to have a baby. The green colour of her dress symbolises hope. Which may be a hope to become a mother.

You can learn more about Jan van Eyck and his work in this Culture Tourist’s video:

There are so many lovely details and secret meanings to find in this painting. I’ll just leave it for you here to enjoy and explore some of them during our first day of Art Blogmas 2021.

If you don’t want to miss other paintings I will share with you in this year’s Art Blogmas, be sure to check in here tomorrow at 7:30 am. Or, follow along on the Culture Tourist Facebook page and Instagram profile.