May 15, 2011
With the purpose of showing you the presentation I did on Vermeer’s The Milkmaid, I have decided to post it by by using Slidshare, the tool we learned to use last year. Hope you find it interesting!
Slide 2: Background
Johannes Vermeer was a Dutch painter born in Delft on 31 October 1632. He specialized in exquisite, domestic interior scenes of middle class life. Vermeer was a slightly successful genre painter in his lifetime. He seems never to have been particularly wealthy, leaving his wife and children in debt at his death, perhaps because he produced relatively few paintings.
Since that time, Vermeer’s reputation has grown, and he is now acknowledged as one of the greatest painters of the Dutch Golden Age.
Slide 3: Painting Technique
The Milkmaid, sometimes called The Kitchen Maid, is an oil-on-canvas painting of a “milkmaid”, in fact a domestic kitchen maid, by the Dutch painter. It is housed in the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, Netherlands, which esteems it as “unquestionably one of the museum’s finest attractions”.
This painting has “perhaps, the most brilliant color scheme of his oeuvre”, says the Essential Vermeer website.
One of the distinctions of Vermeer’s palette, compared with his contemporaries, was his preference for the expensive natural ultramarine where other painters typically used the much cheaper azurite.
Along with the ultramarine, the lead-tin yellow is also a dominant color in an exceptionally luminous work. The white walls reflect the daylight with different intensities, displaying the effects of uneven textures on the plastered surfaces. The artist here used white lead, umber and charcoal black. Although the formula was widely known among Vermeer’s contemporary genre painters, “perhaps no artist more than Vermeer was able to use it so effectively”, according to the Essential Vermeer website.
The woman’s coarse features are painted with thick dabs of impasto. This technique consists on leaving the paint on an area of the surface very thickly.
The seeds on the crust of the bread, as well as the crust itself, along with the plaited handles of the bread basket, are rendered with dots. Soft parts of the bread are rendered with thin swirls of paint, with dabs of ochre used to show the rough edges of broken crust.
One piece of bread to the viewer’s right and close to the Dutch oven, has a broad band of yellow, different from the crust, which Cant believes is a suggestion that the piece is going stale.
The bread and basket, despite being closer to the viewer, are painted in a more diffuse way than the illusionistic realism of the wall, with its stains, shadowing, nail and nail hole, or the seams and fastenings of the woman’s dress, the gleaming, polished brass container hanging from the wall. The panes of glass in the window are varied in a very realistic way.
The woman’s bulky green oversleeves were painted with the same yellow and blue paint used in the rest of the woman’s clothing.
The brilliant blue of the skirt or apron has been intensified with a glaze (a thin, transparent top layer) of the same color.
Slide 5: What does the painting suggest?
Despite its traditional title, the picture clearly shows a maid (a low-ranking servant) in a plain room carefully pouring milk into a container on a table.
Also on the table are various types of bread.
She is a young, sturdily built woman wearing a linen cap, a blue apron and work sleeves pushed up from thick forearms.
The painting is strikingly illusionistic, conveying not just details but a sense of the weight of the woman and the table. With half of the woman’s face in shadow, it is “impossible to tell whether her downcast eyes and pursed lips express wistfulness or concentration,” wrote Karen Rosenberg, an art critic for The New York Times.
“It’s a little bit of a Mona Lisa effect” in modern viewers’ reactions to the painting, according to Walter Liedtke, curator of the department of European paintings at The Museum of Modern Art, and organizer of two Vermeer exhibits. “There’s a bit of mystery about her for modern audiences. She is going about her daily task, faintly smiling. And our reaction is ‘What is she thinking?’”
Slide 6: Relationship Picture-Poem
In this last slide, I have analised the relationship between the picture of “The Milkmaid” and the poem that went with it in our books and we have been looking at in class with Claire:
The poet takes us back on time to what has been done. It is not a static moment in time.
The picture shows a rude woman, not a delicate or fine one. Everything she touches is hard, crude. There is no flattery at all.
She is holding the jug as if it were a baby, as if she were bathing him.
The maid is an earthy woman, not a delicate one, but she turns into kind of holly or precious when the light shines on her. Light transforms her actions onto something holly, full of grace and admirable.
- Johannes Vermeer. Britannica. Retrieved: May 2, 2011 at 21:00 from http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/626156/Johannes-Vermeer
- Johannes Vermeer. The Milkmaid. Retrieved. May 2, 2011 at 21:00 from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Milkmaid_(Vermeer)
- Johannes Vermeer. Retrieved. May 2, 2011 at 21.00 from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Johannes_Vermeer
- Slideshare http://www.slideshare.net/
- English for Specific Purposes. Orange Book.
April 21, 2011
The artist of the painting “The Glass of Wine” is Johaness Vermeer (1632-1675). He painted “The Glass of Wine” between 1658-1660. The painting is also known as “Lady and Gentleman drinking Wine” or in Dutch “Het Glas Wijn” and it portrays a seated woman and standing man in an interior setting. Nowadays, the painting can be found in the Gemäldegalerie in Berlin. The work is typical of the genre painting (images of domestic life, views of households, courtyards…) of the Delft School developed by Pietr de Hooch around 1650. It is a painting of the Baroque style, which it is characterized by its great drama, deep color, intense light and dark shadows.
But what does the painting suggest? It is important to take into consideration that the predominant figure in Vermeer’s works is usually the female character. However, sometimes the male figure intrudes into a domestice scene. This painting as can bee seen, is set in a daylight burgeois room and there is a man encouraging a young woman to dring wine. Wine is in my opinion the central motif in Vermeer’s work due to the fact that it was a forbidden pleasure for women. If a woman was intoxicated on wine, it was considered as a kind of sin. Furthermore, alchool was the first steo towards whoring.
If we now have a thorough look at the painting, we can see that the lute laid aside and the scattered sheet of music add a sexual undertone offset by the couple’s heavy clothing. The emblem of the 27th century was “If music be the food of love” (taken from Shakespeare’s “Twelfth Night”). However, as we can see, their bodies are hidden behind fabrics and folds. His body is covered with a cloak and as we can see, he has not taken his hat yet. Her body is covered under a heavy dress and she is also wearing a headdress. Moreover, as it can be noticed, there is no physical contact, the man is the only one looking at the lady but she cannot see him because of the headdress and the glass that she is holding as can be seen in the image below:
As we have seen, there are characteristics that imply that the couple like each other, they feel a kind of desire, but at the same time, we can see that the heavy clothes mean that there is nothing between them. The open window is emblazoned with an emblem of temperance and it is important that we center in the window, because although it is open, there is not even a glimpse to the outside world. Scholars have suggested that the painting should be analized as a straightforward seduction.
To sum up, we have seen how one has to look carefully at the painting in order to be able to have a critical analysis of the painting, as there are many things related to sin, sex and temperance. In my opinion it is difficult to know whether the couple are attracted to each other or not because I think that their state of mind remais hidden and it is us, the ones who have to decide what kind of relation they have. Perhaps Vermeer wanted the viewer made their own conclusions as well as letting us being creative about it. If you want to learn more about the painting, I will write a second part about the painting technique, and finally, I will made a thir part with some curiosities that I have found.
- Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Wine_Glass
- The complete interactive Vermeer catalogue, http://www.essentialvermeer.com/catalogue/glass_of_wine.html
June 7, 2009
Johaness Vermeer was a Dutch painter who especialized in painting domestic interior scenes of ordinary life. He was moderately successful, but maybe because he painted relatively few paintings (35 are attributed to him) he was not wealthy and left his family in debt when he died.
He worked slowly and with great care, he liked the use of bright colours and sometimes, even, expensive pigments. He is renowned for his mastery in the use of light in his paintings. He was, unfortunately, forgotten for a time, until Gustav Friedrich Waagen rediscovered him. He and Thoré Bürger published an essay about him, and since that time Vermeer’s reputation grew up, being nowadays acknowledged as one of the greatest painters of the Dutch Golden Age.
Cite the site: Johannes Vermeer. (2009, June 7). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 03:25, June 7, 2009, from http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Johannes_Vermeer&oldid=294906079
Signature: Traces of signature (?).
Provenance: Acquired in 1724 by August III, elector of Saxony, together with a number of other paintings bought in Paris. The seller threw in the picture as a present, to sweeten the deal. It was then attributed to Rembrandt, and the ascription was subsequently weakened to “manner” or “school of.” In 1783, it was engraved as a work by Govaert Flinck. The name “Van der Meer from Delft” occurred for the first time in a catalog dating from 1806, to be changed back to Flinck in 1817. From 1826 to 1860, the appellation was altered to Pieter de Hooch. It is only since 1862 that the correct identification obtains. The only Dutch provenance that could possibly apply is the sale Pieter van der Lip, Amsterdam, 1712, no. 22, “A Woman Reading in a Room, by van der Meer of Delft fl 110.” Unfortunately, the text is not specific enough to distinguish it from the one at the Rijksmuseum, Woman in Blue Reading a Letter.
The above underlines the difficulties inherent to the establishment of Vermeer’s catalog. Not a single work can be traced back to the painter’s studio, nor are there any letters or contracts extant. The task of attribution rests squarely upon the shoulders of the individual critic, which explains the multiplicity of divergent opinions. In this painting, a young woman stands in the center of the composition, facing in profile an open window to the left. In the foreground is a table covered with the same Oriental rug encountered in the Woman Asleep. On it is the identical Delft plate with fruit. The window reflects the girl’s features, while to the right the large green curtain forms a deceptive frame. She is precisely silhouetted against a bare wall that reflects the light and envelops her in its luminosity.
We are here confronted with one of the salient aspects of Vermeer’s sensibility and originality. It is the stillness that stands out, the inner absorption, the remoteness from the outer world. She concentrates entirely upon the letter, holding it firmly and tautly, while she absorbs its content with utmost attention.
In the technique, the artist avows again Rembrandtesque derivation. He paints in small fatty dabs to model the forms, and obtains the desired effects by means of impasto highlights opposed to the deeper tonalities – just as the master from Leyden was wont to do. The painting is relatively large, and the smallness of the figure as opposed to its surroundings stresses immateriality and depersonalization. Vermeer considerably changed the composition in the course of execution.
Much has been written about the trompe-l’oeil effect of the curtain. It is a pictorial artifice used by many other Dutch masters and in keeping with an old European tradition. Rembrandt, Gerard Dou, Nicolaes Maes, and many still-life and even landscape painters made use of such curtains as a means of simulating effects that now seem theatrical. The light background can be found in many paintings by Carel Fabritius, the Goldfinch from 1654 at the Mauritshuis in The Hague being the most famous example.
Web Gallery of Art, created by Emil Kren and Daniel Marx., In Web Gallery of Art. Retrieved May 17, 2009, from http://www.wga.hu/frames-e.html?/html/v/vermeer/02a/06gread.html
April 15, 2009
The multimedia encyclopedic is a very complete web site on Johannes Vermeer and his life in Delft.
By going to this page http://www.xs4all.nl/~kalden/ and pushing Vermeerś Birth House you will find a research overview of little known facts about the house were the painter was born. What is more, there are very interesting photographs and documents supporting the information given.
April 14, 2009
Jonathan Lopez is the author of The Man Who Made Vermeers (2008), a research work on Han van Meegeren and the illicit trade across Europe during the interwar period. The development of this book took Lopez to the Netherlands, Germany, Great Britain and the United States.
Newspaper and magazine reviews:
- Los Angeles Times. Review by Christopher Knight.
- Chicago Tribune. Review by Wendy Smith.
- A’n'B VIBE. Review by Meghan Masterson.
- Contentions. Review by Terry Teachout.
April 14, 2009
Han van Meegeren (1889 – 1947) was a Dutch painter and portraitist, considered one of the best art forgers of the last century. He is remembered by his faked Vermeers. Meegeren spent seven years on forging some of the world’s most famous artists including Frans Hals, Pieter de Hooch, Gerard ter Boch and, of course, Johannes Vermeer.
Nowadays, we may check the authenticity of a picture by applying forensic and even digital techniques. But Meegeren was able to fool the experts of his time. Why?
- Vermeer’s work was practically unknown to the general public at the beginning of the 20th century, so very few people knew how a Vermeer look like.
- Most art galleries kept their collections in protective storage shortly before and during the Second World War. Thus, experts could not compare a genuine Vermeer painting with one of Meegeren’s.
At the same time, Han van Meegeren was extremely meticulous in his art forgeries. He studied the biographies of the Dutch masters from the Golden Age along with their trademark techniques and catalogues. Godley (1951) provides a detailed description of the forgery process:
“Van Meegeren bought authentic 17th century canvas to paint on, and mixed his own paints from raw materials (such as lapis lazuli, white lead, indigo, and cinnabar) using old formulas to ensure that they were authentic. In addition, he used badger hair paintbrushes, similar to those Vermeer was known to have used. He came up with a scheme of using phenolformaldehyde to cause the paints to harden after application, making the paintings appear as if they were 300 years old. After completing a painting, Van Meegeren would bake it at 100 °C (212.0 °F) to 120 °C (248.0 °F) to harden the paint, and then roll it over a cylinder to increase the cracks. Later he would wash the painting in black (India) ink to fill in the cracks.”
These facts made the fraud more difficult to detect. By the time Meegeren was found, he owned out of the equivalent of several million of dollars!
More information on Han van Meegeren:
- The Meegeren Website
- Essential Vermeer.com
- The Art Forgeries of Han van Meegeren
- A Fraud’s Life.
- El hombre que estafó al Tercer Reich. “Historias con historia”, blog by Iñaki (in Spanish)
April 4, 2009
View of Delft, by Johannes Vermeer, a guided art history tour through this painting
This is a webpage full of detailed information about the paint of Vermeer. I use it in my presentation of the picture. In the web, you can fine information about the way the painting is done and information about how Delft is depicted in the picture. There is also information about what has changed in the city. And there are link through the text that link you to more details, that will appear at the top of the text.
There are also references to other paint by Vermeer and to other analysis and interesting webpages of View of Delft. You can also email the author of the analysis.
- The ‘View of Delft’ by Johannes Vermeer, a guided art history tour through this painting [online] [17-05-09] WWW Page: http://www.xs4all.nl/~kalden/verm/view/Vermeer_main.html