Art I LOVE:The Sound of Silence – Vermeer

Vermeer milkmaid, even the milk is captured in mid flow

Vermeer milkmaid, even the milk is captured in mid flow

Sometimes the sound of silence can actually be very informative.  I’m talking of course about the sort of silent narrative that some of the old Master’s used to convey quietness, closeness and intimacy.  Dutch artist Johannes Vermeer (c.1632 -1675) is a good example of capturing the private moment and sharing it with you.

 

vermeer-woman-in-blue, what are the contents of her letter? all the clues are in the picture

vermeer-woman-in-blue, what are the contents of her letter? all the clues are in the picture

When you look into his paintings, there is a feeling that you have just stepped into the room and have just missed something: some kind of activity or movement, and now all is still (until you leave…….)  It’s a bit like the childhood fancy about  toys coming alive whilst you are asleep and then going back to the inanimate objects they really are when you wake up.

the enigmatic Girl with a Pearl Earring Vermeer

the enigmatic Girl with a Pearl Earring Vermeer

Vermeer’s paintings look deceptively simple: a woman with a letter, a young woman at a virginal, another pouring a ewer of milk, a girl with a pearl earring: pictures of quite domesticity (or so it would seem on the face of it).  Vermeer was particularly outstanding in his use of light.  He loved to light his figures up by painting what looks like natural daylight.  This light illuminates  the figures, bringing them to life. 

 

lady atthe virginals with a gentleman

lady atthe virginals with a gentleman

 

It has been argued that Vermeer may have used a camera obscura to help him paint details: if he did he wasn’t the only artist (more about this later).

A complete catalogue of Vermeer’s paintings, some of them interactive too! HERE

There’s even a Vermeer blog HERE

To be continued tomorrow

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