May 22, 2011
Her hands know what to do:
they dance, winding the threads
around their tiny maypoles, trying
each knot with surprising speed under
the deep calm of that broad, honest face,
suspended like a benevolent moon
over this delicate task.
She is not delicate. Body and bosom
are full-fleshed; her heavy ringlets will uncurl
by sundown. Wool and wood, metal hooks
and folds of yellow fabric are rich
with gravity and mass —- things
solidly of this world.
Yet in this light that pours
from some high window,
passing beneficence of a northern sun,
those solid things seem fragile:
the light will shift; she will lift her head
and stretch and sigh, the quiet
around her rippled like a pond´s surface,
and this graced moment gone.
Gathered on what we see,
filtered through lace, gleaming
on hair and polished wood, what we see
is always the light.
May 17, 2011
The work shows a young woman in a room dressed in a yellow shawl bent as she sews the threads of a dress. As you can see, the pale and empty wall in the background intensifies the qualities of the young lacemaker and drives our attention to a physical activity.
Regarding the lady, critics have often said that the lacemaker could be a member of his family circle. Taking into account the date of the painting and the corresponding ages of his eldest daughters, it’s easy to know that the lacemaker was one of them.
At first sight what attract our attention are her eyes which are looking down. This fact shows the great concentration of the lady at work. What’s more, her hairstyle expresses her essential nature and we can appreciate that her dangling locks are quite similar to those of the Young Woman Seated at the Virginal painted in the same years.
After looking at her, we realize that her eyes encourage the viewer to pass on to a more defined middleground. Here is where the activity takes place. Although we cannot see the kind of lace she is making we can draw some conclusions from her tools which Vermeer has drawn with sufficient precision.
The girl rests her hands on light-blue lacemaking pillow. It was used to make shorter pieces or stripes of lace, which seems to be the case in Vermeer’s work. Pricking card is partly visible, fixed on the blue pillow. Little holes are pricked onto this card to establish the desired pattern. Pins are inserted carefully into every hole around which the threads are entwined. Around these pins the threads, furnished by the bobbins, are interwoven and crossed according to the pattern. Apart form that it’s obvious that there is a light from the outside even if there is no window in the painting because it illuminates her hands as well as her face.
In this painting we can also appreciate a mass of red and white threads that stick out from the cushion’s opening. Such cushions were frequently held on the young lady’s lap as a base for her handiwork. The same sewing cushion appears in the Gabriel Metsu’s The Hubter’s Gift.
Then we find a small book lying on the table which is thought to be a prayer book or small Bible. In this context, the Holy Bible symbolizes domestic virtue which was a fundamental concept in Dutch civil life.
Apart from that, the lacemaker sits at a piece of furniture, a triangular table, for lace making and near the table, there is a tapestry which also appears in Vermeer’s Love Letter and the Astronomer.
The floral pattern suggests that it was not a carpet imported from the Far East, but rather a tapestry produced locally in Belgium or the Netherlands.
- Web Gallery of Art.
- The Lacemaker by Johannes Vermeer.
- Vermeer: The Lacemaker
May 17, 2011
The Lacemaker , the painting I chose in order to do my presentation as well as to write the tale, is a painting by the famous Dutch artist Johannes Vermeer (1632-1675). It was completed between 1669–1670. Nowadays, we can find it in the Louvre Museum, Paris. The work shows a young woman dressed in a yellow shawl bent in concentration as she sews the threads of a dress. At 24.5 cm x 21 cm (9.6 in x 8.3 in), the work is the smallest of Vermeer’s paintings,but in many ways one of his most abstract and unusual.
Regarding technical description, the support is a slightly open, plain-weave canvas. The thin, gray-brown ground contains chalk, lead-white, and umber. The red; pink and light blue areas were painted wet-in-wet. Brushmarks impart texture to the background paint, and impasto touches are found on the highlights. X-radiograph shows a pentimento: the knee was lower so that a triangle of wall was visible under the tabletop. The blue in the tablecloth is discolored. The flattened tacking edges along the left and right sides have been retouched. At the same time, it’s important to mention that things such as tools and threads were painted accurately adding all details.
Concerning the activity that the painting represents, it’s easy to assume that the girl it’s working on lacemaking. This was one of the greatest extravagances in the history of clothing. True lace was not made until the late 15th and early 16th century. In Vermeer’s painting, we can clearly see that the girl is making bobbin lace, which is one kind of lace.
Finally, we realized that unlike other artists, Johannes Vermeer used to sign all his paintings in different ways. The most common are the ones which appear in A Lady Standing at the Virginal,The Girl with a Pearl Earring, Woman with a Pearl Necklace, The Glass of Wine, The Girl with a Glass of Wine and so on. On the contrary, the less common ones appear in The Procuress, The Art of Painting, The Astronomer and Diana and her Companions. So, as you can see the signature of this painting is clearly among the most common ones.
- The Lacemaker (Vermeer). Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia.
- The Lacemaker by Johannes Vermeer.