Friday, July 18, 2008

Which is like love, which is like everything

The Arnolfini Wedding, Jan Van Eyck (1431), National Gallery, London.


LottieP said...


From time to time our love is like a sail
and when the sail begins to alternate
from tack to tack, it's like a swallowtail
and when the swallow flies it's like a coat;
and if the coat is yours, it has a tear
like a wide mouth and when the mouth begins
to draw the wind, it's like a trumpeter
and when the trumpet blows, it blows like millions . . .
and this, my love, when millions come and go
beyond the need of us, is like a trick;
and when the trick begins, it's like a toe
tip-toeing on a rope, which is like luck;
and when the luck begins, it's like a wedding,
which is like love, which is like everything.

Alice Oswald

Mancsoulsister said...

Didn't this painting cause a huge scandal at the time because the lady looks like she is pregnant?

LottieP said...

The Wikipedia entry about this painting is worth reading for the background. It doesn't mention that, but does say that the dog is a symbol of their desire to have a child.

I love this picture. It's astonishing that it was painted over 600 years ago.

Claire said...

I will always associate it with Woodhall...wasn't it on the wall there? It's incredibly beautiful. But yes, I did always wonder about the point of that fold of fabric.

LottieP said...

I think you're right, Claire; I wasn't sure why it was so familiar, but I think it hung on the wall at the little school. We used to say the dog was Teazle.

The fabric effect (the folds on her green gown) is called "dagging".