The uber-fashionable Georgians are attributed for popularising the decorative convex mirror in England. Nevertheless, the convex mirror has been a feature of interiors and art in Northern Europe since the 15th century.
And, for the artist at the easel, the convex mirror was so much more than simply a decorative object…
Van Eyck’s convex creation
The Arnolfini Portrait (1434) by Jan Van Eyck is the first known recording of the convex mirror in a European home.
Van Eyck used the convex mirror as a tool of perspective, allowing the viewer to experience a much more detailed and complex scene than if it had not been included at all. Viewers can see not only the principals, Arnolfini and his wife, but also two persons who look into the room through the door. One of these is believed to be the artist himself.
The portrait is considered unique by some art historians as the record of a marriage contract in the form of a painting. And, the convex mirror is key, because it serves to prove the presence of two witnesses to the marriage.
Use of the convex mirror in art was appropriated by many artists after Van Eyck. One such is Petrus Christus who, it is believed, may have been the pupil of Van Eyck.
Christus’s countertop convex
Celebrated as one of the most famous masterpieces of Northern Renaissance art, Petrus Christus’s A Goldsmith in His Shop (1449), shows a goldsmith in a tiny shop outfitted with the wares of his trade.
As in Van Eyck’s Portrait, the convex mirror extends the viewer’s field of vision – in this instance to the street outside – and conveys an abundance of detail and scope for interpretation.
Presented in the mirror’s reflection are two dandified male figures, one of whom holds a falcon (a symbol of greed and pride). Here, the Eyckian device of the convex mirror establishes a moral comparison between the imperfect world of the viewer and the world of virtue depicted in the goldsmith’s shop.
In both of these paintings, the convex mirror permits the viewer to see beyond the bounds of the painting in its frame. It becomes a picture within a picture.Watch Full Movie Online Streaming Online and Download