Here at the frontier, the leaves fall like rain. Although my neighbors are all barbarians, and you, you are a thousand miles away, there are still two cups at my table.

Ten thousand flowers in spring, the moon in autumn, a cool breeze in summer, snow in winter. If your mind isn't clouded by unnecessary things, this is the best season of your life.

~ Wu-men ~

Friday, August 13, 2010

Vermeer Bonanza!

A friend sent me a link to a veritable bonanza of articles on the Dutch painter, Johannes Vermeer. Below is an excerpt of the main article. The read the whole thing as well as the others, click here.

Jan Vermeer

Updated May 4, 2009

Just about the only thing we know for certain about the 17th-century Dutch master Johannes Vermeer is the thing that matters most: he was a miraculous painter. What was miraculous about him, among other things, was that he painted nothing, or mostly nothing: a woman reading a letter, or asleep at a table. But he made it seem as if time had nearly stopped in these pictures, and the effect is like slow-motion film: the ordinary suddenly looks extraordinary. Put another way, Vermeer eternalized moments that we all live, the ones when nothing much is happening, and gave them an almost mystical gravity.

Is this what makes him so popular? Partly, perhaps. His beautiful works are an effortless and hypnotic pleasure. A painting like "Woman With a Pearl Necklace" is a typical, well, jewel, full of strange portent: the young woman gazes at herself in the mirror as a diffuse golden light pours through the leaded window and glints off her earring, the yellow satin of her fur-trimmed jacket and the hand-wrought nails of a chair. The image is about vanity, to be sure, but also spirituality, since the woman, in her near rapture, looks as if she might be lifting up a host, not a necklace.

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