[The Arnolfini Wedding] Van Eyck wrote “Johannes de eyck fuit hic” on the wall in a fine calligraphic hand to testify that he was there, a witness to the couple’s marriage. This famous picture is unique as a marriage document. But with the help of Sanredam in particular and our sense of seventeenth-century Dutch art in general, we see that it is also paradigmatic of the nature of much northern picturing. Fr like the painters of landscapes and still lifes, Van Eyck bears witness to our documents a world that is prior to him rather than laying claim to be the creator of a new or second one.
—Svetlana Alpers - The Art of Describing. Dutch Art in the Seventeenth Century.