Tuesday, October 31, 2017

On this day. Vermeer, Happy 385th

October 31, 1632. Johannes, Jan or Johan Vermeer (October 1632 - December 1675) was a Dutch painter who specialized in domestic interior scenes of middle-class life. Vermeer was a moderately successful provincial genre painter in his lifetime. He evidently was not wealthy, leaving his wife and children in debt at his death, perhaps because he produced relatively few paintings. In this image: Participants of a press conference look at a painting, entitled Holding a Balance, by Dutch painter Johannes Vermeer at the Alte Pinakothek in Munich, Germany, 16 March 2011.

"The charm of Vermeer is at once obvious and elusive. Everyone feels the pull of these paintings. No one can quite say how they exercise their magnetism, their unique beauty, their compelling mood. When people attempt to define the paintings, they often speak of Vermeer’s “poetry”. If you are a poet, you wonder what they mean by this. After all, there are many kinds of poetry, as Auden noted in “Letter to Lord Byron”: “By all means let us touch our humble caps to/La po├ęsie pure, the epic narrative;/But comedy shall get its round of claps, too.”Craig Raine, 2013. The Spectator

The allegory of painting
Astronomer in his shadowy room. We know he's rapt in thought without even seeing his face. Brilliance of Johannes Vermeer, born OTD 1632.

You are caught by a glance, but only for a moment. Girl with a pearl earring, c. 1665, by Johannes Vermeer of Delft. Born on this day 1632. The Girl with a Pearl Earring is one of Vermeer’s miracles. The girl is virtually without eyebrows. Her half-open mouth is one of many great Vermeer mouths. No painter captures oral liquidity better. Her look, sideways yet direct, holds us. She may be about to speak – words that will never reach us. But it is the form, so subtle, so firm, that contributes crucially to the painting’s eternal eye contact. The earring catches the light like a nearly new moon, a crescent of brightness, lit from the left. This is echoed in her lovely, left-looking eyes, which are like moons in wane, the whites and the dark irises, as she turns to hold our gaze.

Totally disturbing because window is on wrong side! And who is she playing for, Mr. Vermeer? Happy 385th birthday, though.

Window flares. His face is darkened. Space is odder than you think. Not a simple glass of wine, of course not, it's Vermeer, on his birthday

The concert. Such an empty room, such distance between you and these three people. Tragic that this work was stolen! Ah, Vermeer. 1632.

Johannes Vermeer, Antoni van Leeuwenhoek, and the reinvention of seeing. Eye of the Beholder blends entertaining data culled from the history of Dutch Golden Age art, early modern European optics, and the history and correspondence of the Royal Society with perfunctory historical context, folding in neither original research nor non-English-language scholarship. Unlike Vermeer’s silent meditations on space and light, the book chatters along, concluding more or less where it began – in asserting a relationship that cannot be demonstrated  (Guardian Review)

1 comment:

Carla Ives said...

I have always known him as Jan Vermeer and, of course, the Girl with the Pearl Earring is the one that comes to mind. His work is stunning in its realistic depiction of everyday people. I'm surprised he wasn't a bit more famous but I guess in the time he lived there was simply too much competition. Still, his work endures and although that didn't give him a better lifestyle, it does give him a legacy.