Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Don't you think Vermeer deserves more than one day? I think I've been avoiding him because he's just, as my 13 yr old might say, like so awesome, totally. Okay, she doesn't say "totally" very often. She doesn't say anything now that she's finally got a phone and can text everyone.

Mute people, especially women, are so often the focus of Mr. Awesome's gaze. In the Young Woman with a Water Pitcher, I find his use of negative space seems to really lock the shapes of the composition in place - the sliver under her left arm, between her left hand and the chair, and especially above her left shoulder where the map of Holland is aimed right at her. Although apparently her clothing was typical for a woman of means at that time, the use of the water pitcher, the window, all that blue - he certainly seems to be making sure we'll think of Mary.

While I think the word "luminous" is overused in a zillion contexts, it does apply to his paintings. His ability to conjure up a room bathed in light is all the more magical when you consider that Delft is under gray skies as many as 300 days a year. He must have had a remarkable memory to
reproduce a special quality of soft, warm light not seen everyday.

It's small, only 18 X 16, and it's at the Met in New York. Better to see this than stand outside those studios watching for Matt or Meredith, don't you think?

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