Comparing The Arnolfini Marriage 'And The Romance Of West Chamber'

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I choose “ The Arnolfini Marriage ” by Van da Goes and the Min Qiji’s edition of the Romance of West Chamber to discuss the arrangement of the space and narrative. In the following, I would like to introduce these two paintings briefly first. And then I will describe the space and perspective of the paintings separately. Comparing and finding out the similarities and differences will be the last. The Arnolfini Marriage is an oil painting, which was painted in 1434. It is a double portrait and records the marriage of Giovanni Arnolfini. According to the book of “The Creative Impulse” (Dennis J. Sporre, eighth edition in 2009), Flemish painters achieved pictorial naturalism through linear and aerial perspective. They used color subtly to create…show more content…
First, both of them use metaphorical way to tell the story. For “ The Arnolfini Marriage ”, each of the subject matter and action carry different meaning. For “The Romance of West Chamber”, the subject in the screen symbolizes the inner world of Zhang Gong or Oriole. Second, the ways of narrative are similar. We can only see the image from the reflection in this two picture. Mirror in these paintings play a very important role that helps to achieve the perspective. It leads the spectator into an invisible world. But “The Romance of West Chamber” is slightly different from “ The Arnolfini Marriage ”. Actually, we cannot see Oriole directly but only the “image” in the mirror. It tricks the spectator’s eyes. According to the Chapter 1 of “ The way of seeing”, it pointed out “if we accept that we can see that hill over there, we propose that from that hill we can be seen”. It means that the artist makes use of the assumptions of spectator to create a space. Third, the perspective of these two painting contains two space at the same time. For instant, For Zhang’s perspective, he can see at the back and the front of the screen at the same time. For the guests, they look at the mirror in the back as well as the couple in the front at the same

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