Medieval Selfies

Very cool post šŸ™‚


Self-portraits of medieval book artisans are as exciting as they areĀ rare. In the age before the modernĀ camera there were limited means to show others what you looked like. In the very late medieval period, when the Renaissance spirit was already felt in the air, some painters made self-portraits or included themselves in paintings commissioned by others. Stunningly, the medieval painter Jan van Eyck showed himself in the portrait of GiovanniĀ ArnolfiniĀ and his fiance: he is staring at you from the mirror that is hanging behindĀ the couple. For those who still didnā€™t get it,Ā he painted above it Johannes de eyck fuit hic,Ā ā€œJan van Eyck was hereā€ (Fig. 1, more here). He added the date 1434 to the picture, makingĀ it a particularly earlyĀ selfie.

Jan van Eyck, Giovanni Arnolfini and his fiance, 1434 (right) and mirror detail (left) Fig. 1 ā€“ Jan van Eyck, Giovanni Arnolfini and fiance (right) Ā and mirror detail (left)

As far as producers of booksĀ is concerned, there were only two kindsā€¦

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