Formal Analysis of the painting: The Art of Painting

Formal Analysis of the painting: The Art of Painting

—————————

——————————

Vermeer – The Art of Painting

Slide 1 and 2

This work by Johannes Vermeer I have chosen had a special meaning for the painter and througout his life he refused to get rid of it. It was painted between 1662 and 1668 and is not too large 120 * 100 cm. This painting is somehow unusual.

It is known by several names: “The Art of Painting”, “Painter in his Studio”, “Allegory of Painting”.

QUESTION #1.

Why the different titles?

  1. THE  ART  OF  PAINTING
  2. PAINTER  IN  HIS  STUDIO
  3. ALLEGORY OF PAINTING

SLIDE 3

LIGHT
COLOR
SYMBOLISM

Vermeer is about light going into dark spaces. This painting is a completed presented image out of darkness (symbolic and metaphysical aspects of it)

This canvas, like the rest of his work, is characterized by the use the artist makes of light and color. He uses a window that is only guessed. The light goes through it and illuminates the scene with special emphasis on the main character’s model.

But other elements are also well defined, the curtains, the chairs or the lamp. This work has a peculiarity: the symbolism that is behind every element include in the whole composition.

SLIDE 4

  • – STUDIO
    – PAINTER VERMEER ?
    – MODEL   CLIO

the mask, down to the left

As stated in some of the names of this painting, the scene is showing the studio of a painter. Here we see two characters: a model and a painter. The model represents the muse of History: Clio.

The painter might be the author himself, Vermeer.

QUESTIONS # 2, 3, 4  and 5

  1. Why does Vermeer include himself?
  2. Why does he paint himself from behind?
  3. Why is the female figure Clio?
  4. What does this say about painting?
  5. What does this say about the relationship between narrative, portraits, paintings and history?

Clio is a muse. So she is related to literary devices more than historical facts. At the time history was much more a literary exercise.. As for Vermeer portrayed that way, he maybe displaying the difficulty behind perceptions of reality. How impossible it is to picture reality.

Other answers maybe that he was not that great in portraying faces. Rembrandt was the opposite: superb at portraits and mediocre at elements. Or was he being modest?

What you see is what you get: What do you see?

SLIDE 5

  • CHANDELIER  HABSBURGS
    TRUMPET
    THICK  FOLIO
    LAUREL  WREATH
    MAP   NETHERLANDS

chandelier with the double headed eagle

Another important element is the lamp placed in the middle of the study. At its top are the symbol of the House of the Habsburgs: the imperial double eagle. The model holds in her hand a trumpet and a book: these objects meaning glory, fame, knowledge.

Clio on her head has a laurel crown: symbol of glory. It seems to be what the painter is painting at the precise moment of the “shot”.

vermeer's technique in his painting

Finally, we must mention the map on the wall, at the back of the model. It represents the position of the Netherlands, with the seventeen pr0vinces and more important cities.

  • CHANDELIER  HABSBURGS
    TRUMPET
    THICK  FOLIO
    LAUREL  WREATH
    MAP   NETHERLANDSthe map of the Netherlands

Slides 7 and 8

  • THE  KUNSTHISTORISCHES  MUSEUM
    VIENNA

The Art of Painting is at the Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna. It was acquired by the Austrian Government in 1946.

One last QUESTION

WHAT STATUS IS VERMEER CLAIMING FOR PAINTING?

I came to this painting and the more I look into it, the more questions come into my mind.

Please feel free to answer them for me. Cheers!

******************

*******************

************************

:::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::

Sources

::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::

Valeriano Bozal (2003). Vermeer: el gran “voyeur”. Descubrir el Arte,
nº 48.
Consultado 20.03.2011 en
http://almendron.com/arte/pintura/vermeer/vermeer_01.htm

Jonathan
Janson (2011). An essential Vermeer bookshop. Consultada
20.03.2011 en http://www.essentialvermeer.com/books/books_vermeer.html

http://www.essentialvermeer.com/cat_about/art.html

Critical Assessments: The Art of Painting

The Art of Painting, Johannes Vermeer

http://www.johannesvermeer.info/verm/house/hz-chandelier-eng.htm Literature on this particular chandelier. Retrieved on May 20th 2011.

http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5h1XYtzorJwLkYPvbfedQkFReGzGQ Vienna museum fears restitution of stolen Vermeer. Retrieved on May 20th 2011.

Department of Modern Languages and Basque Studies
Universidad de
Deusto

Advertisements