Tuesday, September 13, 2016

A PHOTOGRAPH VS. VERMEER'S PAINTING

Below is a photo of my twelve-year-old granddaughter Annika taken by her mom (our daughter Holly) on Labor Day at our home. Holly said she simply asked Annika to stand facing away from the camera. When Holly told Annika to turn around, Holly snapped the picture.




I love this photo! It speaks to me in so many ways--that of a young lady on the verge of womanhood, her entire life ahead of her with all of its ups and downs, joys and sorrows, experiences both good and bad, and a life in the Lord to fulfill.

As I looked at this photo many times, it kept stirring a memory buried deep within my "filing cabinet" of a memory bank, but at first,  I couldn't put my finger on what Annika's photo reminded me of. Just the other day, it hit me: Annika looks so much like the subject in Girl with the Pearl Earring painting by the famous Dutch artist Johannes Vermeer!

Image result
Girl with the Pearl Earring, circa 1665-67

While in college, I took an art appreciation course, as required by my major of English--I chose art over music appreciation. I had no idea how much I would love that course and the 17th century Dutch masters, studying and learning far beyond any expectations by my professor. When we had tests, he had to stop me from writing my copious answers at the end of class, because I had memorized so many details about various works of art and often filled up those blue exam composition books, resorting to using the back cover when I ran out of pages! 

I fell in love with the Dutch masters, including Rembrandt, one of the more famous Dutch artists. I loved their light and shadow, their reality, as if they had taken a photograph of their subjects. Well, they did--but with paint rather than film.

In any case, back to Annika: see that hint of mystery in her eyes, just like the girl in the painting? What was she thinking as that photo was snapped? Does she realize she's very pleasing to the beholder? As her doting grandmother, of course I think Annika is beautiful. I know her very well, and she's a loving, goofy, intelligent preteen who is so much fun. 

Not much is known about the girl in the painting; conjecture places her as Vermeer's daughter Maria, and the movie by the same name (Colin Firth played Vermeer, Scarlet Johansson played the girl) suggests that she was a maid in his household with whom he had an affair. Truth be told, nobody knows. I just know that the expression in that oil painting reminds me of Annika's.

Below are a few more of Vermeer's paintings. He was known for painting the everyday life around him, giving us a glimpse into the daily life of his time. Note the detail in his paintings! In the first, the window and the tablecloth are amazing. The folds of the woman's garments. The light and shadow on the wall behind her. They say that an artist's eye is different from that of us "ordinary" people. I tend to agree, because they notice fine detail that most of us never see.


Image result
Woman with a Water Jug, circa 1662

In the painting below, I was interested in this one because my family visited Delft when I was a child. In fact, I still have a few pieces of the famous blue-and-white Delftware that my mother bought at that time. We lived in Europe for six and one half years while my dad was in the military, stationed in France and Germany. Delft still had buildings that looked exactly like these, centuries later. Perhaps they were the same ones--I don't know. Europeans tend to build things that last for centuries, you know!

Again, notice the details: the reflection on the water, the way the sunlight plays on the tops of some buildings, not others. It's cloudy that day, and he captured the light perfectly. Oh, to be able to paint like that!

Image result
View of Delft, circa 1660-61

Below, The Music Lesson shows an upper class household. Note the piano and its intricate inlaid wood, the tablecloth, and the clothing. Light and shadow play an important part of the overall painting, and the mirror behind the piano adds depth. The angles reflected in the mirror are pure genius!
Image result for The Music Lesson
The Music Lesson, circa 1662-65

This post has nothing to do with dachshunds, but perhaps you (and I) needed something different to think about/look at.

My beautiful granddaughter is well worth it!

No comments:

Post a Comment

Dachshund Books for Dog Lovers!

Dachshund Books for Dog Lovers!
Click on the BOOKS tab at the top of this blog

Write a Review!

Write a Review!
Go to www.amazon.com, type in "Mavis Duke Hinton"