Portrait of Giovanni Arnolfini and his Bride


This is the rare occasion of a cross-post with my poetry blogIt is a poem, something that won’t be a regular thing on this blog. It’s about art history and criticism though, so it seems appropriate enough. One of my favorite paintings from one of my favorite painters.

Portrait of Giovanni Arnolfini and his Bride

We were wrong
We recognized
The abacus eyes
Of commerce
Caped in the finery of the transaction
The cruel elegance
Of company letterhead
Cork heeled sandals
Of the coquette prospect

We mistook the cool nature
Of Northern light
For metaphor
Scorned humility
Walked straight past love
For the mirrored detail
And us
We drank the narcissism of contempt
We’ll never end up that way

How soon we forget in the summer era
The hands of love
Can warm the coldest room

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