The textual material contained in the Essential Vermeer Interactive Catalogue would fill a hefty-sized book, and is enhanced by more than 1,000 corollary images. In order to use the catalogue most advantageously:
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The art historian Gregor Weber identified the picture-within-a-picture that hangs behind the guitarist's head as A Wooded Landscape with a Gentleman and Dogs in the Foreground by Pieter Jansz. van Asch. In Vermeer's version, Van Asch's composition has been cropped on the right and slightly on the top. The group of gentlemen and dogs is covered by the musician's head.
Van Asch's landscape may have been a possession of Vermeer at the moment of his death. Like many other Dutch artists, Vermeer dealt in paintings of his colleagues to augment earnings becasue most painters were not able of support themselves by painting alone. In his late years Vermeer's trade went poorly. Catharina Bolnes, the artist's wife, stated in a petition to her creditors that her deceased husband "during the long and ruinous war with France not only had been unable to sell any of his art but also, to his great detriment, was left sitting with the paintings of others he was dealing in. As a result and owing to the very great burden of his children, having no means of his own, he lapsed into such decay and decadence, which he had so taken to heart, as if he had fallen into a frenzy, in a day or day and a half he had gone from being healthy to being dead."
According to the scholar Elise Goodman, even though we know nothing of Vermeer's literary and musical predilections, the young girl that appears in the present painting is a member of the haute bourgeoisie who read, wrote, and spoke in several languages. She probably collected European poetry and had a taste for the lyrics of Dutch, French and even English songbooks which circulated in great numbers in 17th-century Netherlands. Her hairstyle, dress and guitar reflect the latest styles of the day.
The young girl's open expression is unusual for Vermeer's sitters who usually convey their emotion in a veiled manner. Perhaps her flirtatious expression suggests the presence of a male listener nearby. From a technical point of view, her physiognomy is rendered with such economy that it is almost impossible draw any conclusions as to an eventual resemblance to other figures in Vermeer's paintings.
In the 17th century, pearls were an important status symbol. In 1660 English diarist Samuel Pepys paid 4 1/2 pounds for a pearl necklace, and in 1666 he paid 80 pounds for another, which at the time amounted to about 45 and 800 guilders respectively. At about the same time the traveling French art connoisseur Balthasar de Monconys had been shown a single-figured painting by Vermeer which had been paid 600 guilders, which he considered outrageous.
Although the relatively homogeneous subject matter of Vermeer small oeuvre would suggest that the artist evolved little during his twenty-year career, a closer look reveals that he ceaselessly experimented new ways to enhance light, textures and space.
In the present work, the artist contrived a remarkably economic technique for rendering the pearl necklace that he later replicated in the Allegory of Faith2018救济金6元棋牌. After having laid in the dark greenish shadows of the girl's neck, he superimposed a continuous, light greenish-gray band of paint to serve as the basis of the strand of pearls. At this stage, no attempt was made to define the shape of the individual pearls whose contours, instead, were left deliberately hazy in order to convey their natural translucence. Once the underlying layer of gray paint was thoroughly dry, he deftly applied a sequence of thick white spherical highlights which indicate the position, spherical nature and reflective quality peculiar to pearls.
2018救济金6元棋牌This detail illustrates the evident tendency towards stylization in Vermeer's late works. Instead of continuously modeled form, objects are abstracted into a series of flat patches of differently toned paint, which, nonetheless, magically convey the play of light on the delicately formed fingers of the young girl.
The guitar was just coming into vogue in the 17th century as a popular instrument for solo accompaniment. The music it created was bolder than that of the lute, in large part because its chords produced a resonance not possible on the lute. By then, the lute had begun to take on associations with an idealized past, a sophisticated era where music had been enjoyed and contemplated for the purity of its sounds. As Arthur K. Wheelock Jr. observed, the bright and direct character of The Guitar Player2018救济金6元棋牌 spoke more to the modern world of music represented by the guitar than to the conservative and contemplative traditions of the lute.
The depiction of the guitar is a technical tour de force. Maximum attention was paid to the rendering of the decorative black and white inlay of its border whose visually "staccato" effect intensifies the painting's sparkling atmosphere and lends a rhythmic note consonant to the musical theme. The ornate hand-carved sound hole(see$$$$$)2018救济金6元棋牌 is rendered with pictorial shorthand of thick blobs of impasto paint which miraculously describes how light rakes across its shiny, uneven surface. But perhaps the most subtle technique was reserved for the painting of the instrument's strings. If carefully observed, some of them are blurred to suggest vibration in an unconventional manner which finds few parallels in 17th-century painting.
Why Vermeer so drastically simplified his technique is an open question. Some art historians believe the his creative powers began to wane under the weight of economic misfortunes or personal calamities. Others believe he was simply following the French influence that had begun to dominate high culture. Yet others believed that he simply wished to abbreviate the painting process in order to compete more advantageously in an extremely fickle art market which had all but collapsed due to the French invasion of the Netherlands in 1672.
Although satin and silk are widely used for their sheen and smoothness, they are different. Silk is a specific material that is used to make fabric while satin is a man-made with a variety of materials, including silk. Silk is made from cocoons of silk worms, whose fibers are made into threads and then woven. On the other hand, satin is a cloth that has been woven in a particular pattern that leaves one side dull and the other shiny. Both products originated in China. While silk was developed as early as 6000 B.C., satin was developed in the Middle Ages. Satin derived its name from the Chinese port of Zaitun (Quanzhou) in Fujian province from where the Arabs traders bought the fabric.
Satin was sometimes starched and ironed to stiffen the material. From the heavy hang of the folds, the dress in The Guitar Player appears to be made of starched satin.
In the 17th century, Dutch painters delighted in the depiction of the play of light on textures. In particular, the description of luxurious fabrics like silk, satin and velvet were considered a test of the painter's ability and the best never lost the chance to show off their technical prowess in this area. Philip Angel wrote in 1642, "A painter worthy of praise should be able to render this variety in the most pleasurable way for all eyes with his brushwork, distinguishing between harsh, rough clothiness and smooth satiny evenness..."
Finely rendered satin gowns were strong selling point on the competitive art market. Pieter Codde and Willem Duyster were particularly good at it but Gerrit ter Borch surpassed them all. So when Vermeer included this kind of luxurious garment in his painting, he was well aware that it would be compared to those of the most highly appraised and sought after painters of the moment.
Painting luxurious fabrics was particularly difficult and time consuming. Because the folds change with the movement of the body and painters could not usually finish them in a single session, life-size wooden manikins were dressed with the sitter's most costly clothes.
2018救济金6元棋牌The three books which lie on the table impart an air of sophistication to the picture even though it is impossible to know their subject or title. Some critics have proposed that the bulky dimensions of the middle volume indicates it is a Bible. One critic has conjectured that the presence of the holy text in the worldly context represents a veiled admonition to the girl's vain pursuits. If the this is the case, the viewer will not fail to note that the lovely musician seems to have turned a deaf ear to the painter's moralizing advice.
Walter Liedtke, instead, posited that the three books "imply learning, a new but not unknown theme in Dutch paintings of fashionable young women."
It is not easy to understand the space that the young girl inhabits but she appears to be quite distant from the background wall even though the golden frame seems to bind her closely to it. The hidden window to the far right appears similar in structure to other windows found in Vermeer's interiors, with two lower and two upper casements. The upper casements had shutters that could be closed from the inside while the lower shutters were on the exterior of the house. The curtain in the present painting was employed to shield incoming light and, perhaps, indiscreet eyes. The light which shines upon the girl most likely comes from a second window nearer to the artist.
Although it can barely be made out, a dark silhouetted form represents the top of a lion-head finial of a so-called Spanish chair which Vermeer had portrayed throughout his career. These particular chairs probably derived their name from the use of leather instead of cloth commonly used in Spain. Such chairs were so prized that their makers' regarded themselves as a distinct and superior group within the craftsman guilds. Similar chairs can be seen countless times in genre interiors of Vermeer's time. One such chair can be advantagoulsy seen in the The Duet2018救济金6元棋牌, by Jan Miense Molenaer.
A similar elegant fur-trimmed yellow morning jacket appears in five other paintings by Vermeer including the Mistress and Maid. One such article is listed among possessions of his beloved wife, Catharina. The folds of this jacket are handled so differently from picture to picture that it appears to be made of various kinds of fabric, although a side-by-side comparison of the shapes and the distribution of the spots on the fur trim of three paintings (A Lady Writing, Woman with a Pearl Necklace and Mistress and Maid) assures us that it is one and the same article. In the mid-1660s or after they were depicted in an enormous number of Dutch genre interiors, in a wide variety of colors. Very few examples of 17th-century jackets have survived.
2018救济金6元棋牌In the present painting, the shimmering material of the jacket is broken down into an abstract pattern which seem almost unrelated to the actual tuck and fold of the garment. The fur trim too, once rendered with the utmost delicately, is transformed into to curious patches of thin gray paint. Why Vermeer had come to disregard the close transcription of visual experience in favor of a so heavily stylized treatment has never been fully understood.
Historians of costume tell us that the spotted fur trim of Vermeer's jacks was probably not precious ermine but cat, squirrel or mouse decorated with faux spots. In fact, even in the inventories of the wealthiest women, ermine is never mentioned.
A rarely discussed yet crucial component of Vermeer's motifs are the white-washed walls. These unobtrusive walls set the stage for the artist's quiet dramas and have multiple pictorial functions. Not only define the picture's spatial depth but establish with uncanny precision the lighting scheme and mood of the work. Moreover, as "negative spaces" they often play a key in compositional equilibrium. As in the work of no other Dutch interior painter do the walls have such a marked presence whose bland surfaces are investigated with the utmost care.
2018救济金6元棋牌Vermeer employed sundry pictorial strategies to define each wall's particular illusionist qualities and suggest the transparency of cast shadows. The wall's precise hue, or color, establishes the temperature of the incoming light while chiaroscural values and brushwork signal the light's direction, intensity as well as the surface texture. Surprisingly, the pigment combinations Vermeer and other Dutch interior painters generally used for the task were few; mainly lead white, black and raw umber, a workhorse, but unexciting brown. The importance that Vermeer attached to evoking their luminosity is confirmed by the well-know findings that he deliberately introduced in some of his wall minute mixtures of natural ultramarine (sometimes perceived only subliminally) the most expensive pigment used by painters throughout Europe.
Wim Weeve, Delft building historian Wim Weeve, reports that since the Middle Ages, bare white walls were ubiquitously found in the interiors of Dutch houses, castles and churches. However, these walls were not simply "white washed" with a brush, but first covered with a thicker layer of lime putty, in Holland, where Vermeer lived and worked, made from burned seashells. After the putty layer was applied, the walls were repeatedly whitewashed as they become soiled. At times they were (partly) decoratively hand-painted, but by the 17th-century they were no longer in fashion among the upper classes. Walls could be whitewashed many times as many times as necessary to restore their pristine white condition. Bare brick walls could be kept only in industrial buildings or warehouses.