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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In the ebony framed mirror, we catch a glimpse of the young girl's face turned slightly to the right, a bit more than one would expect judging by the head of the musician. But the mirror, a technical tour de force that must have been admired by Vermeer's fellow painters, also reveals that a third person was present. On close inspection we see part of the foreground carpet and a few floor tiles, while with some difficulty, it is also possible to make out the crossbar and a leg of the artist's easel (see the same easel represented in Vermeer's Art of Painting). Thus, with the introduction of the easel, the figure of artist also takes part in the painting's narrative scheme, reminding the spectator of the intellect that went into the painting's creation.
Mirrors had many associations in European painting. It could stand for truth or vanity. In Vermeer's age, the mirror also had strong associations with the art of painting. In his treatise on the art of paiunting, the painter and art theoritician Samuel van Hoogstraten wrote: "A perfect painting is like a mirror of Nature, in which things that are not there appear to be there, and which deceives in an acceptable, amusing, and praiseworthy fashion." Van Hoogstraten addressed a perduring dilemma that Vermeer must have been deeply aware as he painted: the more the painted image is the perceived as real, the more it is deceptive and hence, possibly morally reprehensible.
Some critics have drawn a spiritual parallel to the mirror in Las Meninas by Velásquez even though the two great baroque artists did not know each other's work.
2018救济金6元棋牌One such ebony-framed mirror was listed as being in the front room of Vermeer's house in the inventory of movoable goods, complied shortly after his death.
The virginal, or virginals as it is also referred to in singular voice, is a box-shaped keyboard instrument; the more familiar harpsichord looks more like a piano and has a triangular shape. Closed, the typical Flemish virginal looks like an elongated linen closet. Opened, its visual effect is striking. The keyboard is often surrounded by decorative block printed papers. These papers also cover the front of the case and line the inside of the fallboard, as well as the case above the soundboard and the interior of the lid. Mottoes, such as the one seen on the lid of The Music Lesson, were frequent embellishments. Many of the instruments were constructed without legs, and would be placed on a table for playing. Later models were built with their own stands similar to the one in The Music Lesson.
The lining paper on the keywell of Vermeer's instrument, decorated with flowers, foliage and sea-horses (sse facsilime abover), also occurs on instruments depicted by Metsu (A Man and a Woman Seated by a Virginal) and Steen (A Young Woman Playing a Harpsichord), both in the National Gallery, London.
The music written for the virginal was measured in rhythms, and nuances of timing were carefully conceived and executed. The lyrics often accompanying the music dealt with human and spiritual love and about the comfort (solace) that one can obtain from it.
Although writers have often evidenced that a virginal would have been considered a luxury item at the time, Walter Liedtke points out that virginals were more frequently cited in household inventories that is usually thought. For example, two Ruckers virginals were owned by the Delft organist Dirck Scholl during the 1660s.
In any case, it is not surprising that not a single keyboard instrument is present in Vermeer's death inventory of 1676. Dutch music expert Edwin Buijsen believes that they could have been seen at the home of the music lover Cornelis Graswinckel, who was related by marriage to Vermeer's patron Pieter van Ruijven. Nor is it impossible that on one occasion Vermeer traveled to nearby The Hague to admire the famous collection of musical instruments belonging to Constantijn Huygens. He could have borrowed such instruments from his clients or upper-class art lovers with whom he was in contact.
Wherever Vermeer may have seen the virginal, there is no doubt that it came from the workshop of the Ruckers family who dominated the Antwerp production of keyboard instruments from the end of the 16th until the middle of the 17th century. Their instruments found their way into all European countries, and some even traveled as far as South America.
Laboratory analysis shows that Vermeer adjusted the shape of the virginal's lid to improve the painting's composition. The lid is slightly wider to the right of the girl than it is to her left, a shift of alignment that lessens the tendency to visually connect the two halves of the lid design through the girl.
The virginal is a box-shaped keyboard instrument; the more familiar harpsichord looks more like a piano and is triangular in shape. Closed, the typical Flemish virginal looks like an elongated linen closet. Opened, its visual effect is striking. The keyboard is often surrounded by decorative block printed papers. These papers also cover the front of the case and line the inside of the fallboard as well as the case above the soundboard, and the interior of the lid. Mottoes, such as the one seen in The Music Lesson, were a frequent embellishment. Many, if not most, of the instruments were constructed without legs, and would be placed on a table for playing. Later models were built with their own stands analogous to the one in The Music Lesson.
The lining paper on the keywell of Vermeer's instrument, decorated with flowers, foliage and sea-horses, also occurs on instruments depicted by Metsu (A Man and a Woman Seated by a Virginal) and Steen (A Young Woman Playing a Harpsichord2018救济金6元棋牌), both in the National Gallery, London. There are specific sources for the patterns used on the lid and the fallboard, but no source for the pattern on the keywell has yet been discovered.
2018救济金6元棋牌The music written for the virginal was measured in rhythms, and nuances of timing were carefully conceived and executed. The lyrics often accompanying the music were about human and spiritual love and about the comfort (solace) that one can obtain from it.
Although writers have often evidenced that a virginal would have been considered a luxury item at the time, Walter Liedtke points out that virginals were more frequently cited in household inventories that is usually thought. For example, two Ruckers virginals were owned by the organist Dirck Scholl during the 1660s.
2018救济金6元棋牌In any case, it is not surprising that not a single keyboard instrument is present in Vermeer's death inventory of 1676. Dutch music expert Edwin Buijsen believes that they could have been seen at the home of the music lover Cornelis Graswinckel, who was related by marriage to Vermeer's patron Pieter van Ruijven. Nor is it impossible that on one occasion Vermeer traveled to nearby The Hague to admire the famous collection of musical instruments belonging to Constantijn Huygens. He could have borrowed such instruments from his clients or upper-class art lovers with whom he was in contact.
There is no doubt that the virginal which Vermeer represented in The Music Lesson came from the workshop of the Ruckers family who dominated the Antwerp production of keyboard instruments from the end of the 16th until the middle of the 17th century. Their instruments found their way into all European countries and some even traveled as far as South America.
2018救济金6元棋牌Laboratory analysis shows that Vermeer adjusted the shape of the virginal's lid to improve the painting's composition. The lid is slightly wider to the right of the girl than it is to her left, a shift of alignment that lessens the tendency to visually connect the two halves of the lid design through the girl.
Like other Dutch genre artists of the time Vermeer used background pictures for his painted mise-en-scène much as the modern stage director utilizes reproductions, photographs, posters and furniture to identify an environment, to evoke a mood or to make an ironic comment on a scene. Art historian Gregor Weber has identified this picture as a Caravaggist work based on an original by Gerrit van Honthorst or Matthias Stomer. Maria Thins (Vermeer's mother-in-law with whom he and his wife would reside until their death) already owned one such work in Gouda which appeared later in the inventory complied when she and her husband legally separated.
Vermeer reveals about two-fifths of this Roman Charity, principally the back side of the head and the chained arms of Cimon. The Roman Charity (or Carità Romana) is the exemplary story of a daughter, Pero, who secretly breastfeeds her father, Cimon, after he is incarcerated and sentenced to death by starvation. She is discoveredt by a jailer, but her act of selflessness impresses officials and wins her father's release.
How does the picture relate to the two 17th-century Dutchmen enjoying their music? As John Michael Montias pointed out, the picture on the wall hints, by focusing only on Cimon in chains, that Vermeer's gentleman "is bound by virtual fetters, a metaphor for Cimon's irons. The analogy may be extended a step further: milk and music, each in its way, assuage the pains of captivity."
By the 13th century, merchant travelers like Marco Polo had remarked on the beauty of the Oriental carpets they encountered in their journeys. Soon after, carpets began to be imported into Venice and then distributed throughout the rest of Europe. While early carpets of this kind are rarely preserved, European great masters, from Giotto and Ghirlandaio to Holbein, Van Eyck, Lotto (see$$$$$) and Vermeer, frequently depicted those from Turkey and Iran.
2018救济金6元棋牌The fact that so many carpets appear in Dutch interiors of the time might lead us to believe that they were an integral part of Dutch living. However, they do not occur so frequently in death inventories and moreover, these "turkse" and "persiche tapijten" are not documented in appreciable quantities on the cargo of Dutch merchant ships.
2018救济金6元棋牌It is known that some painters supplied clients with the carpets themselves and a single carpet might be used for generations of artists. Vermeer himself seems to have used one carpet more than once.
Carpet expert Onno Ydema writes that the carpet in The Music Lesson2018救济金6元棋牌 is a 16th-century Ushak type from Turkey and is faithfully described by the artist. Most carpets were depicted as table coverings, turned with the knotted side up. They were simply too expensive to be thrown on the floor where they would be soiled.
Perched on top of Ushak carpet is a thin-necked wine jug with a remarkable creamy-white tin glaze and topped by a metal lid. These all-white tin-glazed containers were originally produced in Faenza, Italy. In the 1550s they were exported to all over Europe and by the late 16th and early 17th century had become very fashionable. In Holland they were imitated by local potters. They appear in numerous genre interior paintings between 1650 and 1670. Although it is very difficult to distinguish between Italian and Dutch versions, historian of the Dutch decorative arts Alexandra Gaba van Dongen believes that the ones in Vermeer's paintings are Italian.
The vase is set upon an elaborately decorated silver tray. Rich urban dwellers often invested their money in furniture, silver objects, carpets, tapestries and porcelain, which in many cases were considered more valuable than paintings which hung nearby. The extravagant embossing and engraving of silver objects perfected by the best Dutch silversmiths required years of training and enormous skill. Some were the greatest artists of their time.Curiously, for many Dutchman paintings did not possess a comparable artistic "aura" as they do today and were collected for a variety of reasons.
This is the only painting in Vermeer's oeuvre which shows two sets of windows. A third window outside the picture cast light on the artist's work station. The design of the panes is comparable to that of the Young Woman Holding a Water Pitcher (see$$$$$).
Such windows were typically composed of four casements. The bottom two had shutters on the outside (see Vermeer's Little Street) and at times, two upper shutters attached on the inside. The shutters controlled incoming light and air flow. Curtains were also hung to filter light and indiscreet eyes from outside. Presumably, the two windows of The Music Lesson faced north onto the central Market Square. Painters have always preferred a northern exposition for their studio windows since northern light is cooler and relatively constant throughout the working day.
On heavily overcast or rainy days the artist may have found more productive things to do than paint his brightly-lit pictures. Perhaps, the brighter works were programmed for the summer months when light was more abundant. In any case, Vermeer's studio was reasonably well-lit. Approximately 40% of the area of the wall visible to the left was occupied by windows. According to estimates made by Steadman, this studio was about 6.6 meters deep, 4 meters wide and about 3 meters high.
2018救济金6元棋牌As in all of Vermeer's paintings (and this separates them from works by his contemporaries), this window reveals no view outside heightening the sense of privacy and silent dialogue between the figures.
Willem Weve, a historian of Delft architecture, notes that although domestic construction was not standardized in the city in the mid-17th century, the type of ceiling shown in this painting is one among several arrangements used in houses, and surviving examples can indeed be found. The timber members are small beams, probably of pine, supported by a wall plate over the windows, which can clearly be seen at top left in The Music Lesson2018救济金6元棋牌. The beams were supported at their other ends on a wall which would be on the right of Vermeer's scenes, always out of sight. The ceiling beams in Vermeer's works all seem to slope downwards from left to right. The fact that they slant in all three cases in which they are represented suggests the possibility that this is a real geometrical property of the room and not an inaccuracy in Vermeer's drawing.
Vermeer, like many of his colleagues, represented these common so-called Spanish chairs countless times. Its basic model had evolved in Spain by the 15th century and was rapidly adopted all over Europe. Normally, the legs of the chair are smooth, round in section, and of slender dimensions. They are sometimes baluster-shaped (vase-shaped) or twisted. It is clearly a bourgeois piece of furniture and was made in considerable numbers. It is probably that the hand-carved lion-head finials (see$$$$$) were made by a specialized artisan or a sculptor.
The light blue coloring of the chair in The Music Lesson may not have been the color intended by the painter. The main blue pigment, natural ultramarine, is known to lighten in unfavorable circumstances. This so-called ultramarine sickness is apparent in other paintings by Vermeer and his contemporaries.
This viola da gamba did not appear in the initial concept of work but was presumably added in a later stage for compositional and/or iconographic motives.
The viola da gamba makes four minor, but symbolically significant, appearances in Vermeer's musical themed paintings. In all four paintings it remains quietly unattended, never played. Art writers have speculated that someone, presumably a male suitor, will gather it up and make music. Together with the lute, the viola da gamba is probably the most frequently represented instrument throughout the centuries, whether in painting, sculpture or miniature. Its soft but clear tone imitates the human voice and is the perfect complement for the lute. Its deep tone and unusual stature are associated with the male while the virginal is associated with the female.
Dutch art specialists generally agree that Vermeer did not paint the marble floor tiles from life. Such a luxurious domestic feature, destined only to the very rich, was economically out of the reach of both Vermeer and his mother-in-law with whom he lived and in whose house he kept his studio for many years. Period inventories reveal that marble floors, rare in any case, were generally restricted to one room, the voorhuis2018救济金6元棋牌 (the main entrance) where they would have been seen and appreciated by visitors. Simple wooden floor, with large planks, were far more practical during the long gelid Dutch winters, and were stock features even in the wealthiest Dutch houses. To see real marble floors Vermeer would have had to take a walk to Delft Town Hall or the nearby princely palace in Rijswijk.
2018救济金6元棋牌The painting of marble tiles must have had a three-fold propose for Dutch interior artists: to intensify the illusion of spatial depth, to showcase the artist's command of perspective and to create richly decorated environments that would appeal to upper-class clients.
2018救济金6元棋牌Since the tiles of Vermeer's floor could not have been painted from life, it is possible that he had devised a grid system from real ceramic tiles, which were much less expensive than marble tiles, somewhere in his house. The grid could then be adapted to the compositional exigencies of each picture. In the present work, the white tiles were isolated from the black in order to avoid creating an accelerated perspective which pulls his eyes too quickly to the back of the painting. This same tile scheme is never repeated again.
Differently from De Hooch and most every other interior painter, Vermeer always set the tiles of his scenes diagonally to the picture plane. The imaginative De Hooch experimented with many different patterns, with some scenes showing both perpendicularly and diagonally set tiles. The veining of Vermeer's white tiles is often strangely calligraphic (see$$$$$)2018救济金6元棋牌, somewhat out of stylisic register with the rest of the painting.
2018救济金6元棋牌Some critics have pointed out that the men who appear in Vermeer's group paintings seemed to have been intentionally relegated to an oddly passive role. In this case, the upright gentleman has been taken for a music teacher, based on his authoritative pose and paintings of analogous theme by Vermeer's colleagues. Walter Liedtke, however, notes that the man's mouth is opened and that, consequentially, he must be singing, and since no music books are present he must know the music by heart.
Technical examinations have revealed that Vermeer initially positioned the man closer to the girl. The girl's head also was once turned more toward the man as it appears in the mirror now. By distancing the man and by turning the girl's head back, Vermeer loosened their bond and allowed them to work more coherently in the total composition.
The young musician wears a light satin yellow jacket that can be found in four other works Marieke de Winkel, Dutch costume expert, observes that this kind of garment was usually worn as daily wear and that it was sometimes called a schort except in Leiden where it was referred to as a wacht. Only a few examples of these bodices have survived. The bodice fits tightly around the bust, drawing in the waist and pushing up the bosom to create an hourglass figure. It was probably internally boned or worn over a stay. That the painter was smitten by this garment is evident by the number of times he portrayed it and the loving treatment reserved to it. It is rendered somewhat differently from painting to painting.
In the Netherlands it was sometimes called a schort or a wacht although it has been erroneously referred to in Vermeer literature as a caraco or a pet en l'air (both terms refer to a later and somewhat different type of garment). The Hessisches Landesmuseum Darmstadt possesses a rare collection of well-preserved doublets and bodices from Cologne. While men wore international styles, Cologne women followed closely Netherlandish fashions which were much in vogue until they gradually began to succumbed to French style during the second half of the 17th century.
The figure of the musican obscures the her hands and part of the motto on the virginal's open lid. Dutch art expert Arthur K. Wheelock Jr. pointed out that Vermeer intended to "emphasized less the specifics of the woman and her music than the abstract concepts her music embodies: joy, harmony in love, healing, and solace."
2018救济金6元棋牌"The theme of healing and solace...is reinforced through the painting partially visible on the rear wall. Just enough of its image is visible to identify it as a depiction of Cimon and Pero, a story taken from Valerius Maximus that is better known as Roman Charity." Furthermore, the Motto on the virginal reads: MVSICA LETITIAE CO[ME]S MEDICINA DOLOR [VM] (Music is the companion of joy, balm for sorrow)
The background wall of Vermeer's Music Lesson2018救济金6元棋牌 provides a clear example of one of the many hidden difficulties entailed in highly illusionist painting. In Vermeer's painting light streams through an open window from left to right raking obliquely across the uneven, uniformly colored surface of the wall. As it gradually diminishes in intensity, the right-hand side of the wall is, according to the laws of optics, somewhat darker with respect to the area near the window. But due to the perceptual mechanism called brightness constancy, the human visual system tends to suppress gradual changes in brightness such as those of the wall. Thus, an untutored spectator in a room similar to Vermeer's would perceive the whole wall more or less as uniformly white. However, in order to convey the sensation of the gradually weakening of light the painter must paint the area nearest the light source with a light gray paint while the parts most distant with a surprisingly dark gray. The difference in tonal value (gradations between white and black) between the two areas is much greater than one would expect as as can be easily seen in the diagram above wherein two patches of the background wall have been copied and switched in order to evidence our tendency to see the wall as more or less uniformly light gray.
Comparing the girl with her reflection we can notice that the back of her head, directly seen, is more conventionally perceived, more recognizable, perhaps more touching, her reflected face, its detail dissolved, its humanity suspended in light, has a deeper kind of completeness. The face is reflected not only in the mirror but also in the painter's temperament. For the first time we have the sense that he has use, however oblique, for the whole of human appearance.
Lawrence Gowing, Vermeer, 1952
Signed lower picture frame at right IVMeer (IVM in monogram)
(Click here to access a complete study of Vermeer's signatures.)
Albert Blankert, Vermeer: 1632–1675, 1975
Arthur K. Wheelock Jr., Vermeer: The Complete Works, New York, 1997
Walter Liedtke, Vermeer: The Complete Paintings2018救济金6元棋牌, New York, 2008
Wayne Franits, Vermeer, 2015
(Click here to access a complete study of the dates of Vermeer's paintings).
The plain-weave linen support has a thread count of 15 x 14 per cm². The original tacking edges have been removed. Cusping occurs on all sides, more pronounced along top and bottom edges. The canvas has been lined.
2018救济金6元棋牌The light brownish gray ground contains lead white, chalk, and a little umber, with aggregates of lead white particles. The paint is thinly and smoothly applied although some texture is present, as on the nearest edge of the bass viol, which stands out due to curling impasto.
2018救济金6元棋牌The bottom half of the painting has a strong blue cast. The dark tiles in the foreground are blue while those further back in the composition are dark gray and contain no blue pigment. The shadow of the carpet on the table in the right foreground is dominated by a bright blue, which may be discolored. A pinhole with which Vermeer marked the vanishing point of the composition is visible in the paint layer.
* Johannes Vermeer2018救济金6元棋牌 (exh. cat., National Gallery of Art and Royal Cabinet of Paintings Mauritshuis - Washington and The Hague, 1995, edited by Arthur K. Wheelock Jr.)
(Click here to access all of Vermeer's paintings in their frames).
(Click here to access a complete, sortable list of the exhibitions of Vermeer's paintings).
(Click here to access all of Vermeer's paintings in scale).
The quintessential, pristine Dutch interior of The Music Lesson2018救济金6元棋牌 scarcely reflects Vermeer's personal circumstances and may have been largely contrived. It is a well known fact that the luxury objects such as carpets, marble flooring, silver trays and musical instruments, all which appear in the same room, were seldom found in any but the wealthiest households. Oppositely, none of common household objects listed in the artist's posthumous inventory such as cradles, beds and shabby furniture ever upset Vermeer's perfect compositions. Genre interior artists like Vermeer were selective in what they painted.
In general, the density of furnishings in Dutch homes must have been much higher than what ever appeared in Vermeer's paintings (see$$$$$). Vermeer's uncluttered and perfectly ordered spaces were deliberately set up and painted in order to convey an idea of harmony and peace of refined and elegant living that would have appealed to the married couples who hung them in their homes. They are closer to cinematic mise-en-scène than to snapshots of real-life circumstances.
Thus, Vermeer might qualify as a metteur en scène, "putter on scene," (the French title given to a film director), who carefully arranges the sets, props, actors, costumes, and lighting on his set.
The relationship between music and love as a pictorial theme was frequently explored by Dutch 17th-century painters with varying shades of meaning. In The Music Lesson, Vermeer alludes metaphorically to the harmony of two souls in love, suggested by the unattended bass viol on the floor before the couple. The juxtaposition of the two instruments, the virginal and the bass viol, may refer to an emblem by Jacob Cats, "Quid Non Sentit Amor" that describes how the sound of one instrument resonates on the other just as two hearts can exist harmoniously even if separated.
Although much has been theorized about Vermeer's working methods in conjunction with the room(s) in which he worked, we do not know in how many different rooms he worked in, or even the house in which his studio was located. However, informed specialists believe that Vermeer worked in at least three different environments during his twenty-year career. What is certain is that he did not work in the modest circumstances in which artists such as Rembrandt and Adriaen van Ostade enjoyed portraying themselves.
2018救济金6元棋牌It has been reasonably hypothesized that Vermeer worked in his the same house as his living quarters. From 1660, we know that Vermeer was living with his mother-in-law, Maria Thins on Oude Langendijk, directly across his father's inn Mechelen on the Market Square in the center of Delft. Vermeer's biographer John Michael Montias believed that the Thins house is pictured on an 18th-century drawing by Abraham Rademaker of a Jesuit church on Oude Langendijk (the Thins/Vermeer house is the furthest one to the right but may also be one or two houses over to the right, just outside the drawing). The drawing shows us a series of modest houses, each one having a ground floor, an upstairs floor, some with an extra floor and an attic.
The Music Lesson provides most probably a very good idea of how Vermeer's studio was structured.
Art historians believe that emblematic literature constitutes one of the prime resources for comprehending the hidden meaning in Dutch genre painting. In the present work, an emblem by Jacob Cats, "Quid Non Sentit Amor," has often been called into play.
Although Cats was hardly known outside of Holland. Among his own people for nearly two centuries he enjoyed an enormous popularity: his countrymen showed their affection by nicknaming him "Father Cats." The antiquated character of his matter and diction, have, however, come to be regarded as difficulties in the way of study, and today he is more renowned than read.
Cats took his doctor's degree in law at Orléans, practiced at The Hague, and, after visits to Oxford and Cambridge, settled in Zeeland, where he accumulated wealth by land reclamation. Becoming a magistrate, he was successively pensionary of Middelburg and Dordrecht and, from 1636 to 1651, grand pensionary of Holland. He took part in diplomatic missions to England in 1627 to Charles I and in 1651–1652, unsuccessfully, to Cromwell. His background gave him an international outlook, and he was in sympathy with many of the English Puritan writers.
His first book, Sinne- en minnebeelden (1618; "Portraits of Morality and Love"), contained engravings with text in Dutch, Latin, and French. Each picture has a threefold interpretation, expressing what were for Cats the three elements of human life: love, society, and religion. Perhaps his most famous emblem book is Spiegel van den ouden ende nieuwen tijdt (1632; "Mirror of Old and New Times"), many quotations from which have become household sayings. It is written in a more homely style than his earlier works, in popular rather than classical Dutch. Two other works, Houwelyk (1625; "Marriage") and Trou-ringh (1637; "Wedding Ring") are rhymed dissertations on marriage and conjugal fidelity. In one of his last books, Ouderdom, buyten-leven ne hof-gedachten2018救济金6元棋牌 (1655; "Old Age, Country Life, and Garden Thoughts"), Cats wrote movingly about old age.
Most Flemish virginals had their soundboards painted with flowers, fruit, birds, caterpillars, moths and even cooked prawns, all within blue scalloped borders and intricate blue arabesques. Natural keys were normally covered in bone, and sharps were of oak or, less commonly, chestnut. The case exteriors were usually marbled like the ones in Vermeer's Lady Standing at a Virginal and A Lady Seated at a Virginals2018救济金6元棋牌. Occasionally, the inside of the lid bore a decorative scene; more often it was covered with block-printed papers embellished with a Latin motto, usually connected with morality or music.
Some typical mottos include:
SIC TRANSIT GLORIA MVNDI
(Thus passes the glory of the world)
MVSICA DVLCE LABORVM LEVAMEN
(Sweet music is the solace of labour)
MVSICA DONVM DEI (Music is the gift of God)
The Motto on the virginal in Vermeer's Music Lesson reads:
MVSICA LETITIAE CO[ME]S MEDICINA DOLOR[VM]
2018救济金6元棋牌 (Music is the companion of joy, balm for sorrow)
The motto also decorates virginals in paintings by Pieter Codde, Gonzales Coques and Karel Slabbaert as well as harpsichords made in 1624 and 1640 by Andreas Ruckers of Antwerp.
By the time Vermeer painted The Music Lesson he was in full command of the his medium. He had learned to exploit every stylistic and technical component in order o enhance the meaning of his images, including linear perspective, the most formidable tool for organizing composition and creating the illusion of spatial depth.
Perspective was held in high esteem becasue it enabled the artist to deceive the viewer into believing that the painted scenes were real, one of the prime concerns of Dutch realism. One of the few surviving accounts of Vermeer's art by a contemporary describe his works not as "timless moments" but "perspectives." Perspective was also important because it provided the mathematical basis for painting a fact which could itself elevate its traditional lowly hierarchical status from the Mechanical Arts to the Liberal Arts. This concept must have been of considerable importance to Vermeer, who later dedicated his most ambitions work, Art of Painting, to the edification of the status of the painter.
In ancient times, the Liberal Arts were those considered to be fitting pursuits for free and noble citizens, being above the labor of handicrafts. Arithmetic, Geometry, Astronomy and Music represented the scientific Liberal Arts because they were based on mathematics. Grammar, Dialectic and Rhetoric represented the rational side because they dealt with language. Both painting and sculpture on the other hand were classed among the mechanical arts because they required manual labor.
2018救济金6元棋牌Vermeer used perspective not only to create depth but to clarify his message. In the present work, the orthogonals of the perspectival system converge upon the spiritual heart of the painting, the standing young musician.
Painting conservators have recently discovered that instead of the complicated mathematical calculations necessary to build a coherent perspective on a flat surface of a painting, Vermeer availed himself of an ingenious, yet devilishly simple technique, evidently in common usage among Dutch artists who prized perspective. X-ray examinations of Vermeer's extant paintings have proved that in thirteen works with complicated perspective problems, there is a tiny hole (later filled in with paint) which in every case coincides exactly to the perspective's vanishing point. In this hole was once inserted a pin (most likely to a wood panel temporarily fastened to the back of the canvas) to which a string was attached. By rubbing chalk on the string, the painter could pull it taught and with a snap produce a perfectly straight orthogonal on the surface of the canvas which could then be traced. During the later stages of the painting process, the complicated perspective of the tiles could be easily verified by pulling the string straight just above the surface of the wet canvas.
"A Toye" [1.30 MB]
Giles Farnaby (c. 1563–1640)
from: Ancient Instruments – Tuxedo (various artists)
Together with the harpsichord and the virginal (or virginals) has its origin probably in the medieval psaltery with a keyboard applied, to be able to play polyphonic music (i.e. melody with accompanying chords). It is mentioned for the first time c. 1460 in a treatise by Paulus Paulirinus of Prague. Although limited in its tonal resources, the virginal occupied a crucial position in the musical life in the 16th and 17th centuries because it was smaller, simpler and cheaper than the harpsichord, which is rather rarely represented in paintings, drawings etc.
The main center of virginal production, and keyboard making in general, was undoubtedly Antwerp, with the renowned families of Ruckers and Couchet. Italy was the second center, and since King Henry's VIII's purchase of five virginals it enjoyed considerable appreciation in England. Until the 18th century, the virginal remained in use both as solo instrument, even in private circles of music making, and for accompaniment of the singing voice or melodic instruments, like the viola da gamba.
The virginal usually appears with a rectangular case, although polygon forms in various sizes were built as well. The metal strings run roughly parallel to the keyboard. They are plucked by plectra mounted on jacks. The jacks (one for each key) are arranged in pairs and placed along a line running from the front of the instrument at the left to the back at the right. They pluck in opposite directions, so that the pairs of jacks are separated by closely spaced pairs of strings. Each pair of jacks is usually served by a single slot in the soundboard, together with another slot below in a thin guide above the keys. Leather on the soundboard and lower guide provides a quiet bearing surface for the jacks.
The typical Flemish muselar type (probably invented by Hans Ruckers) has the keyboard to the right side, their strings plucked at a point near the center for virtually their entire range, producing a powerful, flute-like tone. Though since the jacks and keys for the left hand are inevitably placed in the middle of the instrument's soundboard, any mechanical noise from these is amplified and the central plucking point in the bass strings makes repetition difficult because the motion of the still-sounding string interferes with the ability of the plectrum to connect again. Thus the muselar2018救济金6元棋牌 is better suited to chord and melody-music without complex bass parts.
Although not all of Vermeer's paintings make use of symbolism, literary references and background paintings to sharpen the focus of the theme of his compositions, The Music Lesson has been linked to multiple non-pictorial sources.
Vermeer expert Arthur K. Wheelock Jr. cites an emblem entitled "Zyblinckt, en doet al blincken" (it shines and makes everything shine) drawn from P. C. Hooft's Emblemata Amatoria2018救济金6元棋牌 as a very probable connection.
Wheelock writes that "Hooft's emblem contains two vignettes, a Cupid holding a mirror reflecting sunrays in the foreground, and a man standing near a woman playing a keyboard instrument in the background. The accompanying verses explain that just as a mirror reflects the sunlight it receives, so does love reflect its source in the beloved. What love one possesses comes not from oneself, but from the beloved. Although the image of Cupid with the mirror depicts quite literally the message of Hooft's verses, the figures in the background—the man looking with rapt attention at his beloved, whose music has so moved him—expand upon them metaphorically. The compositional relationships between the emblem and The Music Lesson suggest that Vermeer had a similar concept in mind when conceiving his work. Not only do the figures in the background of the emblem bear a striking resemblance to those in The Music Lesson2018救济金6元棋牌, the emphasis on the mirror in the emblem parallels the prominence given to the woman's reflection in the mirror in Vermeer's painting."
In representational painting there exist two basic kinds of shadows, those attached to the objects and those projected by the objects. Attached shadows lie directly on the objects by whose shape, spatial orientation and distance from the light source they are created. Perceptually, attached shadows and projected shadows are quite different. The attached shadow is sensed as an integral part of the object, so much that in practical experience it is generally not noted. A cast shadow, instead, is read as an imposition or interference by one object on another. One of the foremost difficulties of the painter is to determine the color and paint quality for rendering them both.
A cast shadow not only defines more accurately the position of a given object in space, it creates shapes and forms of their own which may be transformed into compositional elements. Vermeer seems to have been particularly interested in cast shadows and art specialists have noted that their shapes are frequently altered to suit the artist's compositional goals.
In The Music Lesson2018救济金6元棋牌, a shadow is projected from the window down towards the tiled floor, its flow being slightly interrupted by the left-hand corner of the standing virginal. The resulting diagonal lines play a vital part in bonding the right-hand side of the composition, with its accumulation of objects, and the empty left-hand side.
In the same painting we find evidence of another phenomenon which reveals the artist's powers of observation and his interest in cast shadows: the double shadow of the ebony-framed mirror. The wider, external shadow is caused by the acute angle of incoming light as it enters from the window nearer to the background wall. But it is partially weakened, and here the double shadow appears, because the light from the middle window shines on part of the original shadow. The same phenomenon appears on the shadows cast by the right-hand lid of the virginal. Similar double shadows can be seen in the Concert and A Lady Standing at a Virginal.
2018救济金6元棋牌Painters were advised to avoid double shadows since they might confuse the viewer.
Art connoisseurs have long underlined the remarkable sense of geometry that pervades Vermeer's compositions. In the work of no other European painter do we find an equal prevalence of straight lines, rectangles and triangles. Perhaps for this reason Vermeer's art had been championed by some exponents of the art-for-art's-sake movement which had banished didactic, moral or utilitarian functions from the artist's creed. The American painter Philip Hale wrote: "if ever a man believed in art for art's sake it was he. He anticipated the modern idea of impersonality in art...he makes no comment on the picture. One does not see by his composition what he thought of it all." As late as 1981, Arthur K. Wheelock Jr. wrote that although abstract design principles are generally associated with the 20th century, "One cannot approach The Music Lesson2018救济金6元棋牌 without realizing that Vermeer calculated his compositional elements every bit as carefully as did Mondrian.
Curiously, 17th-century art writings make no mention of geometric organization of the painting's surface. As art historian Paul Taylor has written, composition, or ordenitie as it was called, was first foremost a matter choosing and arranging the motif in order that they might together clarify and strengthen the painting's narrative and not its aesthetic or visual balance. Does this mean that Vermeer was not aware of the geometrical order of his compositions?
Although we do not know how aware Vermeer was, geometry had gained importance in philosophical and scientific circles. As Nobert Schneider observed, "One need only to think of the subtitle of Spinoza's Ethics: 'ordine geometrico demonstrata' (arrange according to geometric principles). Spinoza asserts that ethics can be based on a geometric model in which axioms and propositions follow each other with logical necessity. At that time, geometry stood for clarity and demonstrability, values which may have appealed to Vermeer.
Some time after is was sold at the Dissius auction in 1696, The Music Lesson2018救济金6元棋牌 was acquired by Venetian artist Giovanni Antonio Pellegrini in 1718, whose art collection was later bought by Joseph Smith, the British Consul to the Venetian Republic, patron of artists, collector, connoisseur, banker and a major draw on the British Grand Tour. It has been part of the Royal Collection of Great Britain since 1762, when King George III bought Smith's collection of paintings. When the painting was acquired by the King it was believed to be a work by Frans van Mieris the elder because of a misinterpretation of the signature. It was not correctly attributed to Vermeer until 1866 by Théophile Thoré, though some scholars were skeptical whether it was Vermeer or not.
Smith, who lived like a Venetian aristocrat, played an important role in launching the career of the Italian vedutista Antonion Canaletto. Smith's house was on the Grand Canal, Palazzo Mangilli-Valmaranah. After renting the palace for many years, Smith was finally able to purchase it from the Balbi family in 1740, and he commissioned Visentini to renovate and redesign the structure, adding a Palladian façade. After work was completed in 1751, Smith evidently asked Canaletto (presumably on his return from London in 1755) to repaint this detail of the painting, and the thicker paint with deep incisions is clearly visible. It is impossible not to ask if Vermeer's Music Lesson ever hung on the walls inside that house. Did Canaletto ever see it? And would he have wondered how his northern colleague achieved one his most spectacular perspectives? Both painters paid great attention to correct perspective and perspective as an expressive tool.