Infobox Historic building

caption=The Arnolfini seen from across the harbour.
architect=Richard Shackleton Pope

The Arnolfini is an arts centre in Bristol, England. It has a changing programme of exhibitions, live art and dance events, poetry and book readings, talks, lectures and discussions and cinema. The exhibitions are free. There is also a well stocked bookshop with a wide range of art and unusual nonart books and a Cafe Bar, run by the same people as the nearby Bordeaux Quay restaurant. It is funded by a wide range of sources, mainly Bristol City council and Arts Council England.

The gallery occupies Bush House, a 19th century Grade II* listed tea warehouse situated on the side of the Floating Harbour in Bristol city centre. [cite web | title=Bush House | work=Images of England | url= | accessdate=2006-08-18] The architect was Richard Shackleton Pope, who constructed first the south part of the warehouse (1831) then extended it to the north in 1835–1836. It has a rock-faced plinth, three storeys of rectangular windows recessed within tall round arches, and a shallow attic. Many elements seen first in this building recur in the Bristol Byzantine style developed from the 1850s. [cite web | title=Bush House | work=Looking at Buildings | url= | accessdate=2007-05-19]

As part of a two year development project that finished in September 2005, the old warehouse has been converted from two storeys to seven. Arnolfini occupies the lower three floors and basement and the upper floors are leased to help pay for the running costs. One tenant is the Bristol School of Art, Media and Design, part of the University of the West of England.

Arnolfini's Reading Room is on the Second Floor and provides reference material for all past exhibitions, many other events and wide range of books and catalogues as well as displays of posters and archive material.

Arnolfini was established in 1961, by Jeremy Rees (1937–2003), son of the artist Jean Rees and moved to its current site in 1975. It has established itself as leading centre for contemporary arts. Originally dedicated to exhibiting the work of artists from the West of England under the directorship of Barry Barker in the 1980s the gallery moved towards a more general spread of contemporary art. Barker supervised a successful refurbishment of the building by David Chipperfield. Before development work began, the Arnolfini was attracting over 400,000 visitors per year.

The Arnolfini is named after Jan van Eyck's masterpiece "The Arnolfini Portrait" (1434) depicting the merchant and arts patron Giovanni Arnolfini. The painting is in the National Gallery, London. There have been many theories discussed to explain this choice of name including a link between the painting and Bristol's merchant history. The most pausible explantion is that it was one of the founder's favourite paintings. However it is true that The Arnolfini Portrait is one of the earliest paintings to assert the prescene of the artist within it's depiction (an inscription in the middle of the work and a reflecion in a mirror on the back wall) and one of Arnolfini's consistent concerns is explore the role of artist as a witness and recorder of what is around them: contemporary society.


ee also

*Royal West of England Academy

External links

* [ Official website]
* [ Bush House] , Pevsner Architectural Guides

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • ARNOLFINI (O.) — ARNOLFINI OCTAVE (mort en 1641) Nommé, en 1598, abbé commendataire de l’abbaye cistercienne de la Charmoye (diocèse de Châlons sur Marne, commune de Montmort), Octave Arnolfini, qui ne voulait pas se borner à être bénéficier, alla faire son… …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • Arnolfini — Vermählung des Giovanni Arnolfini, 1434 Giovanni Arnolfini in späteren Jahren Giovanni di Nicolao Arnolfini (* um 1400; † nach 1452) war ein italienischer …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Arnolfini Portrait — Infobox Painting| title=The Arnolfini Portrait artist=Jan van Eyck year=1434 type=Oil on oak panel of 3 vertical boards height=82.2 (panel 84.5) width=60 (panel 62.5) height inch=32.4 width inch = 23.6 city=London museum=National Gallery The… …   Wikipedia

  • Arnolfini-Hochzeit — Die Arnolfini Hochzeit (auch: Giovanni Arnolfini und seine Frau Giovanna Cenami oder Die Hochzeit des Giovanni Arnolfini) ist ein Gemälde des flämischen Malers Jan van Eyck. Es entstand 1434 in Brügge und ist heute in der National Gallery in… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Arnolfini wedding portrait — (1434; London, National Gallery)    More than the double portrait of the Italian merchant Giovanni Arnolfini and his wife, Giovanna Cenani, the Arnolfini Wedding Portrait is believed to be an actual marriage document. Signed and dated Johannes de …   Dictionary of Renaissance art

  • Retrato de Giovanni Arnolfini y su esposa — Giovanni Arnolfini y su esposa o El matrimonio Arnolfini Jan van Eyck, 1434 Óleo sobre tabla • Gótico 82 cm × 60 cm National Gallery de Londres …   Wikipedia Español

  • Le portrait des Arnolfini — Les Époux Arnolfini (Jan van Eyck) Demande de traduction Retrato de Giovanni Arnolfini y su esposa → …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Les Epoux Arnolfini — Les Époux Arnolfini (Jan van Eyck) Demande de traduction Retrato de Giovanni Arnolfini y su esposa → …   Wikipédia en Français

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  • Les époux Arnolfini — (Jan van Eyck) Demande de traduction Retrato de Giovanni Arnolfini y su esposa → …   Wikipédia en Français

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