The articles by Panofsky and Bedaux provide arguments on the painting that is reflected by the Anolfini portrait. Firstly, both Panofsky and Bedaux express the same views but with some diverse kinds of evidence. For instance, both of them note that the man and woman in the portrait displayed are a married couple that has just been joined together. Seemingly, Panofsky argues that the painting was created with the use of oils.On the other hand, Bedaux notes that the portrait entails the aspect of disguised symbolism, whereby the represented objects and acts point the reality of social practices.The two authors argue about the legitimacy of marriage. Throughout their points of view, the authors base their opinion on diverse grounds. The assertion that the painting displays a newly married couple is what they investigate.

Both Panofsky and Bedaux have some similar types of evidence but in different views. Panofsky seeks the actions and words that are suitable for a legitimate marriage. This is reflected in the manner, in which the bride and the groom hold their hands. In the Jewish marriage ceremonies, the bride and the groom hold hands as a tradition of the pledge. These actions are reflected in the portrait, a situation that emphasizes their religion. In other words, a pair of the joined hands reflects a marital oath. Bedaux signifies the manner, in which this marriage is contracted and signified. In this, he extends his investigation to the representation of the portrait to find the characteristics that form such relations. He establishes that marriage is a theory of practice as reflected in the portrait. The painting, according to Bedaux, displayed disguised customary symbols.Marriage was a contract, and the married couples presented themselves to each other by raising one hand and joining the other hand. This was a sign of the promise of marital faith in the thirteenth century.

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Many artists believed that Panosky’s argument that the two gestures were indispensable to a lawful marriage was incorrect.However, the analysis of the broad symbolic function is largely approved by most art historians. In this, the art has been applied to the early paintings in the Netherlands. Since then, other artists, such as Edwin Hall, consider the argument a betrothal, apart from being a marriage. Margaret D. Carrol agrees that the portrait is similar to that of a married couple.Furthermore, she holds the opinion that the portrait displays a couple that is already married. The couple formalized a legal arrangement when the painting was made. It is apparent that the figures displayed an oath-taking ordeal, in which the persons would act as witnesses. Their wall also encompasses the signature that acted as an authentication to the legal contract. Similarly, Panosfky believes that the portrait displays a sacramental validity of marriage. In this, he points that marriage needed a formal legalization that would be conducted by the Council of Trent.Therefore, it is apparent that the portrait figured a married couple as the church, during those days, cautioned the faithful from conducting secret marriages. Therefore, the instance means that the two figures must have married in the proper manner, also known as the legitimate way. In addition, the marriage was conditioned by actions and words, as noted earlier in the aforementioned context. The actions acted as a betrothal to the formal procedure.

Bedaux does not agree with the aspect that the Anolfini portrait has hidden meanings. In this, he presents the reality of the symbols by acknowledging that the symbols are not disguised to the point that they could clash with the authenticity.In this, he argues that the painter never intended to show such symbolism if the items were disguised. In addition, the items would not be figured as symbolic if they were normal parts of the marriage ritual. Bedaux notes that one of the elements of the interior is the brush that could not be related to the sacramental doctrine.Even though St. Margaret notes that the brush was a sign of chastity, it is clear that the meaning would be indirect to the proles. In other words, this would be one of the symbols that qualified to the issue of the sacramental doctrine. Married couples needed to cleanse themselves because the institution enabled man to live a chaste life, whereby the desire for sexual intercourse would be likened with the need to have a child. On the other hand, Panofsky notes that the room has hidden symbols. He points Mr. Weale who considered it a “Flemish interior”.Even though this could be an ordinary living room, it is apparent that this marriage could be sanctified by sacramental associations such as the brush and the candle.

Even though the two readings contain the same evidence with different ends, it is clear that the Bedaux article engages in more visual analysis as compared to the Panofsky article. The Bedaux article digs into the issue of the reality of symbolism by exploring the diverse grounds that could be linked with the aspect of symbolism. The article points at the symbolic figures such as the brush and the candle. Bedaux compares the traditional symbols that were employed in the marriage setting with the Anolfini portrait.This enabled him to obtain a perfect blending of symbolism and realism. Alternatively, the Panofsky article lacks significant visual analysis, a condition that enhances doubt in his arguments. Even though some of the arguments by Panofsky such as the issue of marriage in the Anolfini portrait have been approved by other historical artists, it is clear that the majority of the other arguments, such as the hidden meanings in the portrait, are neglected by other artists such as Bedaux.


The two authors present arguments that relate to the intent of the Anolfini portrait. Each of them interprets the painting from their point of view. They also analyze the painting from the historical context and the culture of the communities during that period. Firstly, Bedaux makes arguments that are based on the traditional language of symbols. He expects the figures, which Panofsky claims to have a hidden meaning, to relate directly with the general idea in the painting. For instance, Bedaux has noted that the brush did not relate to the aspect of marriage. However, Panofsky provides a deeper understanding of the context by indicating that the brush is a sign of chastity as it is the case when the candle is adversely used in such occasions.

Bedaux uses the arguments by Panofsky to build a clash between the various aspects that he derives from the portrait. Even though he agrees with the consent to marry as reflected in the image, he disagrees with the rest of the assumptions that other historical artists create. He shows little or reduced value on the picture by including doubtful roles to the panel and frame. In this, Panofsky’s arguments are not taken with some significant effort, as he does not provide extensive ideas to enable the reader to understand his concepts. For instance, the brush has a realistic value that could be used to prove the stylistic painting phenomenon of the author. The picture frame reduces the value of the picture due to the inclusion of the bande roles even though it identifies one’s intent in marrying.

In the Arnolfini portrait, it is clear that the author provides equal amounts of evidence regarding the image. Bedaux notes that Eyck was keen while drawing the differences between the painted reality and the text.However, the differences are interpreted differently by the two authors. Even though they have similar arguments, it is clear that each of them uses diverse grounds of argument. For instance, Bedaux notes that the brush that is hanged on the wall could have a different meaning other than the one that Panofsky suggests. In this, he notes that the author is aware of the brush and that he could not have attached symbolic meaning to it. The arguments by Panofsky have stable grounds. Bedaux seems to provide the contradiction to the works of Panofsky by detecting the little errors that lack significant basis. For instance, the picture frame shows clearly that the portrait belonged to a couple that had just married. Another literature from the culture of the time confirms the essence of marriage. It is clear that the married couple held hands only in such occasions to depict unity. Bedaux presents a counter argument regarding this aspect and later establishes that the portrait has fundamental illustrations of marriage. In this manner, the brush hanging on the wall could be used to depict chastity in marriage.

The evidence that is provided in the arguments could be employed to derive meaningful context in the articles. From another point of view, it is notable that the room encompassed expensive artier.Bedaux depicts that the room has a luxurious setting that portrays the unique iconography and the exceptional character. Thus, the painting is assumed existential in the 15th century. Even though these assumptions are used to advance the story, they do not pose any problems to the painting. In other words, the authors use diverse interpretations to rate the validity of the certainty. On the other hand, it is clear that Panofsky has sought the stable basis for his arguments. It is noted that he develops a fundamental history of providing evidence and accuracy to his message. Bedaux focused on the inventive interpretation, which enabled him to gain a larger crowd that believed in his opinion.

In conclusion, the evidence by Panofsky is convincing because he has used significant research to provide grounds to his arguments. On the other hand, Bedaux has relied on evidence that a little degree of certainty. The various objects from the painting were not fully linked with the marriage ceremony. For instance, the issue of the brush was not agreed by the two authors. Other authors such as Carrol also did not provide a deeper understanding of the painting. In this, one should conclude that the image could have displayed the ritual of sweeping by the woman. Even though the brush signified other roles, as reflected by the two authors, it has become apparent that it was an expression of the realistic attribute of a woman in the family. This is one of the powers of the reality of folklore and the disguised symbol. As a result, the article by Panofsky provides an intense connection between the painting and the characters.

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