From The Art and Popular Culture Encyclopedia
The Arnolfini Portrait is a painting in oils on oak panel executed in 1434 by Jan van Eyck, a master of Early Netherlandish painting. Among other titles, it is also known as "The Arnolfini Wedding", "The Arnolfini Marriage", "The Arnolfini Double Portrait" or the "Portrait of Giovanni Arnolfini and his Wife".
This painting is believed to be a portrait of Giovanni di Nicolao Arnolfini and his wife in a room, presumably in their home in the Flemish city of Bruges. It is considered one of the most original and complex paintings in Western art history. Being both signed and dated by Van Eyck in 1434, it is, with the Ghent Altarpiece by the same artist and his brother Hubert, the oldest very famous panel painting to have been executed in oils rather than in tempera. The painting was bought by the National Gallery in London in 1842.
The small medallions set into the frame of the convex mirror at the back of the room show tiny scenes from the Passion of Christ and may represent God's promise of salvation for the figures reflected on the mirror's convex surface. Furthering the Memorial theory, all the scenes on the wife's side are of Christ's death and resurrection. Those on the husband's side concern Christ's life. The mirror itself may represent the eye of God observing the vows of the wedding. A spotless mirror was also an established symbol of Mary, referring to the Holy Virgin's immaculate conception and purity. The mirror reflects two figures in the doorway, one of whom may be the painter himself. In Panofsky's controversial view, the figures are shown to prove that the two witnesses required to make a wedding legal were present, and Van Eyck's signature on the wall acts as some form of actual documentation of an event at which he was himself present.
According to one author "The painting is often referenced for its immaculate depiction of non-Euclidean geometry", referring to the image on the convex mirror. Assuming a spherical mirror, the distortion has been correctly portrayed, except for the leftmost part of the window frame, the near edge of the table and the hem of the dress.