2018救济金6元棋牌

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                                Essential Vermeer 3.0

                                The Complete Interactive Vermeer Catalogue

                                The Procuress

                                (De koppelaarster)
                                1656
                                Oil on canvas, 143 x 130 cm. (56 1/8 x 51 1/8 in.)
                                Gemäldegalerie Alte Meister (Old Masters Picture Gallery), Dresden
                                inv. 1335

                                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:

                                1. Slowly scroll your mouse over the painting to a point of particular interest. Relative information and images will slide into the box located to the right of the painting. To hold and scroll the slide-in information, single click on area of interest. To release the slide-in information, single-click on the painting again and continue exploring.

                                2. To access Special Topics and Fact Sheet information and accessory images, single-click any list item. To release slide-in information, click on any list item and continue exploring.

                                A self portrait?

                                The Procuress (detail), Johannes Vermeer

                                This grinning figure, who holds a cittern in his right hand and cheers to the viewer with a beer glass in his left, is a stock figure of Caravaggesque of brothel scenes of the Utrecht Caravaggists. This semi-comical figure serves as a kind of third person "fictional narrator," partially extraneous to the scene which unfolds.

                                He wears a fanciful black doublet with broad slashes on the sleeves and so-called "shoulder-wings." Such a garment was out of fashion when Vermeer was born. However, they continue to appear in various other Dutch interior paintings well into the 1660s. The deeply scalloped Flemish collar, made of fine white linen and bordered with an artful bobbin-lace, came into fashion around 1630, soon replacing the voluminous, stiff ruffles of the fashion from the Spanish court. The beret had been originally painted much smaller so that the figure's face would have been more illuminated. By enlarging the beret and adding a broad-brimmed gray hat to the suitor, both men's faces are shrouded in a deep shadow that exalts the radiant beauty of the lovely courtesan.

                                An unusual portrayal of the procuress

                                The Procuress, Dirck van Baburen

                                The Procuress
                                Dirck van Baburen
                                1622
                                Oil on canvas, 101.6 x 107.6 cm.
                                Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

                                Contrary to conventional depictions of brothel scenes, Vermeer's androgynous procuress does not play an active role here and can be identified only through her uniformly dark dress and her sharp, shifty gaze. Rather than the despicable aspect usually given to the procuress, her finely drawn face presents no wrinkles. It appears like a mask of someone who knows all about the seductive power both of love and money.

                                2018救济金6元棋牌Radiographs have revealed a light-toned form near the hand of the suitor which was probably the outstretched right hand of the procuress, later overpainted by Vermeer with the black of her dress. This indicates that in the earlier stage the procuress was actively involved in the transaction, although in a far more subtle manner than in Van Baburen's painting of the same theme. Thus, the viewer's attention is directed to the concrete act of payment as well as to the amorous relationship of the handsome young couple.

                                The Procuress (detail). Johannes Vermeer

                                2018救济金6元棋牌In day-to-day reality, the procuress generally held her prostitutes imprisoned in a sort of permanent debt from which they could rarely free themselves. She was usually an ex-prostitute who had put aside enough money to enter into the entrepreneurial side of the trade.

                                A glass of Dutch beer

                                Dutch beerglass

                                This glass is not a simple water glass. It is probably filled a strong, dark bock beer, as there appears to be a stripe in light greenish-gray on the surface of the brownish liquid, probably froth of the beer. The glass has been identified as à la façon de Venise ("Venetian fashion"). The prestige of Venetian glass was so great in the 16th and 17th centuries that the French, German, Bohemian, Spanish and English glassmakers evolved their versions of Venetian style and some are so similar as to be difficult to distinguish from Venetian glass proper. The importance that façon de Venise glass assumed for major European glasshouses as a selling line was substantial. Glass à la façon de Venise was madeeventually in the Netherlands, the Rhineland and by Giacomo Verzelini in England. Wine, instead, would have been served in wine glasses with stems, such as the earlier German Berkemeyers or the later 17th-century Roemers.

                                Drinking alcoholic beverages was a fundamental ingredient in the trade of prostitution. Courtesans were expected to persuade their clients to drink as much as possible of notoriously filthy liquor before getting to the sexual business. At times the "wine" was nothing more than adulterated candy syrup. If the client became too drunk to have sex, he was deprived of his purse, making up for the loss of the courtesan's services. The most successful courtesans were accomplished pick-pockets who used sex to distract their foolish clients from their second line of business.

                                The fancy suitor

                                The Procuress (detail), Johannes Vermeer

                                2018救济金6元棋牌Together with the lovely courtesan, the fashionable young suitor forms the core of the painting. He places a coin in the cortesean's hand while his left hand lays flat across her breast.

                                2018救济金6元棋牌A recent restoration of the picture has revealed that the suitor originally wore no hat and was lit in about the same manner as the girl. He also looked directly at her face instead of focusing on the coin that is about to be flipped in her hand. Although the addition of the broad hat obscures the man's features, it unifies the two figures and provides a sort of shelter for the young woman.

                                A "buttoned-up" cortesean

                                The Procuress, Gerrit van Honthorst

                                The Procuress (detail)
                                Gerrit van Honthorst
                                1625
                                Oil on panel, 71 x 104 cm.
                                Centraal Museum, Utrecht

                                Vermeer's Procuress breaks the traditional mold of the bordeeltje (little brothels scene) in more than one way. bordeeltjes girls were always represented with attractive facial features decked out with luxurious, satin clothes that allow them to bear their breasts to clients, one of the necessities of the trade. The chance to render the textural effects of such costumes may have been one of the reasons why so many talented painters were drawn to the subject. Vermeer, however, interpreted the motif according to his own taste.

                                Although there can be no mistake about the young girl's intentions in Vermeer's composition, her lowered eyes and warm smile have little in common with the conventional renderings of his contemporaries, such The Procuress by Gerrit van Honthorst. With her colorful clothing, her cleavage and the feathers in her hair, Van Honthorst's girl is easy to distinguish from the average citizen. The feathers were a reference to her wanton character while the lute she hold by the neck had a clear sexual connotation in the 17th century. Vermeer's young girl, instead, is fully clad with an elegant white cap bordered with a fine bobbin lace—unusual for her profession. Her peaceful self-containment anticipates something of the sublime female characterizations of his later works.

                                A superbly painted Roemer glass

                                17th-century Roemer glass

                                A Roemer is a drinking glass with a round bowl and a wide, hollow stem studded with prunts, mostly designed in the form of a raspberry motif, although sometimes they were drawn out to form points. These decorative motifs were intended to serve a practical purpose as well: to stop the glass slipping through greasy fingers. The word Roemer appears to stem from the German word for Roman: 'Römer.' Roemer glasses were produced in large numbers in the 16th and 17th century in Holland and Germany. The style developed out of late medieval glass forms and continued into the 19th century.

                                Roemers were distinct from the Berkemeyers (a Berkemeyer is featured in Vermeer's Officer and Laughing Girl), which had a flared bowl and much thinner walls. The hollow base of the Roemer was built up by coiling strands of molten glass around a conical core.

                                Roemers were often engraved by sophisticated women belonging to the upper and middle class, often with poetic mottoes, elaborate floral patterns or even little pictures. Vermeer depicted a Roemer with a flat bowl. The delicate greenish mass of the glass, sparkling in the light, is an attractive chromatic transition from the red and yellow of the couple's clothes to the bright blue of the wine jug. The highlights are applied with bold flecks of thick opaque impasto paint that make them appear to dance like globules of daylight.

                                A tiny masterpiece of painting technique

                                Westerwald ceramic jug

                                The elaborately decorated wine jug is a little treasure in Vermeer's oeuvre. In no other painting—not even in The Milkmaid—do we find another object painted with such precision. The light gray ground and the typical curling blue flourishes suggests it was imported from the Westerwald, a forested area near Cologne on the Rhine in Germany, an area which contains abundant supplies of the essentials of pottery production—clay and wood. Westerwald stoneware was produced from the 15th century to the present day. Made of slat-glazed clay, it is molded, stamped with dies, and sometimes incised or decorated with cobalt blue painted designs. The salt glaze is produced by combining sodium with the quartz in clay at extremely high temperatures to produce an unusually strong finish. The Westerwalder area supplied far-reaching markets in Germany, France, England and the Netherlands, and from there, in large quantities to countries of the East Indies.

                                In order to achieve the extraordinary accuracy of the jug's structure and decoration Vermeer employed a compass. Both the piercing point the scratches used to define the contours and stripes are still visible in the paint layers. The use of a mechanical aid for painting testifies to the artist's openness to any technical means which might improve the quality of an image.

                                The black coat

                                Radiographs have proven that the dark fur coat with the row of five shimmering decorative buttons was added by Vermeer in a later stage of the painting process. In the original composition, the carpet covered the entire balustrade. At one point there were questions about whether the coat had been added by another hand, but the results of several analyses have disproved this supposition. Vermeer probably added it to achieve greater tranquility within the composition, mitigating the colorful-patterned carpet's unstable undulating effect.

                                An imported Turkish carpet

                                With the rapid expansion of the foreign trade of the Netherlands, colorful oriental carpets became very popular in the 16th and particular the 17th century as decorative objects, laid on tables or chests.

                                In nine of Vermeer's paintings we find such precious rugs, presumably painted from existing models. Identified by Onno Ydema, who claims to have found 28 depictions of this kind of carpet in Dutch paintings, the so-called Medaillon-Ushak carpet of The Procuress displays a special design originated in the West-Turkish town Ushak. Two groups of this particular pattern present a structure of complete star-like primary medallions on the vertical axis and secondary medallions at the sides. Characteristic tendrils, flowers and leaves decorate the dark blue ground in yellow ochre or white, and the red ground in various blue colors. In theory, the design repeats infinitely in all directions, although "cut" by the border.

                                Ydema found that the part of the carpet visible in The Procuress shows the pattern of a secondary medallion with the red border. The light woven edges with the red fringes, visible at the right side, are not unusual for Ushaks. The date of the production of this specific subgroup in the first half of the 17th century is consistent with the date of the painting. The ornaments of the medallion are rendered by Vermeer with sufficient precision.

                                Unfortunately, the blue parts of the carpet appear today as a gray-blue or gray-green. A special analysis revealed that Vermeer had used a rare pigment, probably vivianite, a mineral iron-phosphate which soon darkens under the influence of light. Its use may be seen as a further indication of Vermeer's delight in experimenting. The blue color in the carpet must have originally appeared as a clear, lucid blue of different saturation and lightness.

                                Not a lute...a cittern

                                Although the body of the instrument cannot be seen, the characteristic form of its neck leaves no doubt that it is a cittern. The cittern was one of the most popular musical instruments of the mid-17th century and it was also the one most frequently depicted by Vermeer (see the detail of the late Love Letter2018救济金6元棋牌 above). Its form recalls the more familiar lute, but the cittern has a very different history and, above all, it produces a very different sound.

                                2018救济金6元棋牌Cittern strings are made of metal while the lute's are of natural animal gut. Having strings of brass it is played with a lectrum, while the lute is plucked with bare fingers—the latter produces a much softer, nostalgic tone. The cittern's cheerful tone is comparable to the modern banjo, although a good cittern sounds a bit like the virginal. Like the lute, the cittern is frequently found in pictures with erotic content, although it is also used to symbolize harmony in love and family. The comparatively large number of depictions demonstrates the widespread popularity of this instrument.

                                In the Elizabethan Era citterns were available in every self-respecting barber's shop for the convenience of the waiting customer. This was most likely also the case in Dutch muziekherbergen (music taverns), where guests could make use of various musical instruments, including citterns, to entertain themselves.

                                The background

                                The Procuress, Johannes Vermeer

                                The anonymous gray background rarely receives critical attention for art historians. At first glance it would appear that it represents a broad expanse of uneventful wall, slightly more illuminated to the right, that sets uncomfortably close the the figures. However on a closer inspection, it can be seen that to the center left the form of a column, whose left-hand profile is located between the male figure to the left and the black headdress of the procuress. To the left of the column appears to be an open space accentuated with a few rough touches of light yellow and orange paint, which, perhaps, are meant to suggest a sunset.

                                Critical assessment

                                2018救济金6元棋牌The richly satisfying nature of the relationship between the man and the woman on the right eventually begins to assert itself and draw us deep within it, on its own terms. One is struck by how miraculously uncontaminated it remains, either by its setting or by the dark figures who gather around it, and how much this counts in the way of value. Within the experience the couple share they seem invulnerable (and oblivious) to both the voyeuristic and the moralistic gaze. And the important thing is that the painting achieves uninhibited, intuitively convincing access to this experience.

                                Edward A. Snow, A Study of Vermeer, 1979

                                The signature

                                Facsimile of the signature of Johannes Vermeer's Procuress
                                The Procuress (detail of signature), Johannes Vermeer

                                2018救济金6元棋牌Signed and dated lower right 1656

                                (Click here to access a complete study of Vermeer's signatures.)

                                Dates

                                1656
                                Albert Blankert, Vermeer: 1632–1675, 1975

                                1656
                                Arthur K. Wheelock Jr., Vermeer: The Complete Works, New York, 1997

                                1656
                                Walter Liedtke, Vermeer: The Complete Paintings2018救济金6元棋牌, New York, 2008

                                1656
                                Wayne Franits, Vermeer, 2015

                                (Click here to access a complete study of the dates of Vermeer's paintings).

                                Learning how to paint

                                The Procuress was restored in 2002– after intensive conservational examinations.

                                Signed at the lower right corner, in dark brown color: i v Meer. 1656 (ivM in ligature). The support is a hand-woven linen with a threat count of 14x12 per cm² (warp/weft), with a piece attached in the lower quarter. The original edges of the paint and ground layers are preserved and prove that Vermeer had stretched the canvas onto a strainer. At all sites the original strainers may be reconstructed and refer to the original straining in somewhat irregular distances of c. 60 to 120 mm.

                                2018救济金6元棋牌The double ground consists of a first layer with lead white and chalk and a second in a light reddish tone like that of bricks. Chalk, lead white, a yellow ocher, as well as a red ferric-oxide have been proved. A linseed varnish with portions of protein serves as the medium of the ground layers. The paint layer itself is—due to the protein—in a relatively solid condition. On the radiograph there are arched traces of scraping visible in the background left above. They refer to the application of the ground with a palette knife.

                                The palette of colors employed in The Procuress2018救济金6元棋牌 encloses the usual pigments and organic colors known in 17th-century Dutch painting which are also verified in other paintings by Vermeer: one warm and one cold red tone (vermilion, a crimson lake [cochineal], several yellow tones (lead tin yellow type I, yellow ochre, a yellow-brown organic dye stuff on a lead white substrate), four blue tones (ultramarine, smalt, indigo and a rarely used iron phosphate, probably vivianite), brown and black tones (brown ochre, brown organic dyes and lakes, possibly Cassel brown; bone black, vine/plant black and possibly traces of soot) as well as lead white and chalk.

                                The paint layers appear lively and strongly colored. The paint application is largely covering and performed à la prima, with rather broad brushes. The various structures of the paint surface can be explained by a speedy working process with several corrections of the composition. Single light, thick hairs of brushes, probably pig's bristles, are embedded on large parts of the picture, mainly in the black area, which evidence a strong work on the surface.

                                Traces of the use of a pair of compasses are visible in the paint layers of the wine jug (the piercing point and traces of scratching, to define the exact contours and the decoration).

                                Vermeer made several changes in the course of the painting process which have altered its final effect significantly: shadowing of both the men's faces with larger headgear to concentrate the light on the young woman and the still life in front of her; the view of the suitor (previously fixed on the young woman; now concentrating on the payment); the attitude of the young woman's hand, now rather unnaturally bent and empty. The radiograph revealed a further coin visible in the hand of the woman. Furthermore, a light form appeared near the hand with the cittern, probably the outstretched right hand of the procuress involved in the payment. It had been overpainted with her black garment.

                                from: Johannes Vermeer. Bei der Kupplerin. Eds. Uta Neidhardt, Marlies Giebe, Dresden 2004.

                                The painting in its frame

                                (Click here to access all of Vermeer's paintings in their frames).

                                Johannes Vermeer's Procuress with frame

                                Provenance

                                • before 1737 Waldstein collection castle Dux (Duchcov) near Teplitz (Teplice, Czech Republic);
                                • acquired 1741 for the Elector of Saxony, August III;
                                  1945–1955 in the Soviet Union (requisition of war);
                                • 1955 restituted to Staatliche Kunstsammlungen, Gemäldegalerie Alte Meister, Dresden (inv. 1335).

                                Exhibitions

                                • Berlin April–June, 1980
                                  Restaurierte Kunstwerke in der Deutschen Demokratischen Republic
                                  Staatliche Museen zu Berlin
                                  no. 21
                                • New York March 8–May 27, 2001
                                  Vermeer and the Delft School
                                  Metropolitan Museum of Art
                                  no. 66.
                                • London June 20–September 16, 2001
                                  Vermeer and the Delft School
                                  National Gallery
                                  no. 66.
                                • Jackson (MS) March 1–September 6, 2004
                                  The Glory of Baroque
                                  Mississippi Arts Pavilion
                                  no catalogue
                                • Dresden December 3, 2004–February 27, 2005
                                  Das restaurierte meisterwerk: "Die Kupplerin" von Vermeer (The Restored Masterpiece: "The Procuress
                                  by Vermeer)
                                  Gemäldegalerie Alte Meister, Staatliche Kunstsammlungen
                                • The Hague May 12–August 22, 2010
                                  The Young Vermeer
                                  Mauritshuis
                                  36–47, no. 3 and ill.
                                • Dresden September 3–December 28, 2010
                                  Der frühe Vermeer
                                  Staatliche Kunstsammlungen, Gemäldegalerie Alte Meister
                                • Edinburgh December 8, 2010–February, 2011
                                  The Young Vermeer
                                  Mauritshuis
                                  36–47, no.3 and ill.

                                (Click here to access a complete, sortable list of the exhibitions of Vermeer's paintings).

                                The painting in scale

                                (Click here to access all of Vermeer's paintings in scale).

                                Johannes Vermeer's Procuress in scale
                                1656
                                Vermeer's life

                                In December Vermeer pays the remaining sum (1.5 guilders) of the master's fee in the Guild of Saint Luke that he was unable to pay in 1653.

                                Vermeer signs one of his first known paintings, The Procuress. The young artist seems to be dependent on well established pictorial models and has not yet adverted the influence of the newer, sopphisticated interior genre scenes of his contemporaries. This type of Caravaggesque scene was to be found in the collections of local connoisseurs.

                                By 1656 Maria Thin, Vermeer's mother-in-law, has already advanced 300 guilders, a considerable sum, to Catharina and Johannes.

                                Dutch painting

                                Rembrandt2018救济金6元棋牌 declares bankruptcy. His possessions are put up for sale.

                                The immensely popular landscape painter Jan van Goyen (b. 1596), dies.

                                Gerrit van Honthorst (b. in Utrecht 1590) dies.

                                European painting & architecture

                                Academy of Painting in Rome founded.

                                Gian Lorenzo Bernini designs Piazza of Saint Peter's, Rome.

                                Diego Velázquez paints Las Meninas2018救济金6元棋牌, family of Philip IV.

                                Music Opening of first London opera house.
                                Literature
                                Science & philosophy

                                On October 29 Edmund Halley, astronomer (Halley's Comet), is born. [see Nov 8]

                                On December 14 artificial pearls2018救济金6元棋牌 are first manufactured by M. Jacquin in Paris. They were made of gypsum pellets covered with fish scales.

                                Dutch mathematician Johan van Waveren Hudde2018救济金6元棋牌, 28, anticipates the power-series for ln (1 + x) and the following year will do pioneering work on the use of space coordinates. Hudde promotes Cartesian geometry and philosophy in Holland. His discoveries (later called Hudde's rules) will presage the use of algorithms to solve problems of calculus.

                                History

                                On January 8 the oldest surviving commercial newspaper2018救济金6元棋牌 begins in Haarlem, Netherlands.

                                Dutch forces take the Sinhalese port of Colombo from the Portuguese.

                                Dutch East India Company2018救济金6元棋牌 shares plummet on the Amsterdam Exchange and many investors are ruined. Among them is painter Rembrandt van Rijn, now 50, who is declared bankrupt and whose possessions are put up for sale.

                                The Dutch in Ceylon make cinnamon a state monopoly but will not have complete control of the island's cinnamon until 1658. When prices fall too low, the Dutch will burn great quantities of the bark, and they destroy groves of clove and nutmeg trees in the Moluccas, creating artificial scarcities that will force prices up, enriching the Dutch East India Company.

                                Learning how to paint

                                Based on the historical and religious subjects of Vermeer's first known works, it is assumed that he received training in the studio of a classically oriented master. Therefore, it would be logical that he spent his first years as an apprentice making numerous figure drawings, although none of them have survived.

                                Apprenticeship generally entailed hardships and even hard labor that would not be tolerated by young art students today. Apprentices were required to completely master the intricacies of drawing in their first years of training, before moving on to color and painting. These drawings were made from plaster casts of classical sculpture (see$$$$$).

                                2018救济金6元棋牌 Despite the overall impression of correctness in drawing the human figure, it cannot be said that he possessed more than a working knowledge of anatomy. This is not uncommon among Dutch painters. Gerrit Dou, who was the highest paid painter in the Netherlands, failed to fully grasp human anatomy. There are occasional missteps in the later works of Frans van Mieris as well especially in the modeling of the figures. Some of his late nudes seem to be made out of rubber. Pieter de Hooch's works are noted and even treasured for their doll-like figures which lend his scenes an endearing naiveté. Even Rembrandt, one of the greatest Western draughtsmen, had been criticized by art writers for the stumpy proportions of his figures.

                                It may come as a surprise to know that not even a single drawing by Vermeer of any kind has survived. This seems especially odd if we take into account the complexities of the scenes he painted and the extreme accuracy of contour, scale, and perspective of his compositions. It is far more practical to work out composition and execute preliminary studies on paper that can easily be corrected or redone entirely rather than apply them directly on the canvas. On the other hand, only a handful of drawings by interior painters have survived.

                                The artist's first steps in a new genre

                                The Painter's Studio, Jacob van Oost the Elder

                                The Painter's Studio
                                Jacob van Oost the Elder
                                1666
                                Oil on canvas, 111.5 x 150.5 cm.
                                Stedelijke Musea, Bruges

                                Based on the historical and religious subjects of Vermeer's first known works, it is generally assumed that he received training in the studio of a classically oriented master. Therefore, it would be logical to expect that he spent his first years as an apprentice making numerous figure drawings, although none of them have survived.

                                Apprenticeship generally entailed hardships and even hard labor that would not be tolerated by young art students today. Apprentices were required to completely master drawing in their first years of training before moving on to color and painting. These drawings were made from plaster casts of classical sculpture (see$$$$$).

                                All in all, Vermeer's fully clad figures never suggest any serious shortcomings in drawing. He seems to have firmly possessed a working knowledge of anatomy and foreshortening that would have been demanded of any history painter of the time. This cannot always be said of other Dutch genre painters. Gerrit Dou, who was the highest paid painter in the Netherlands, failed to fully grasp human anatomy and his perspectives often leave much to desire. There are occasional missteps in the later works of Frans van Mieris as well, especially in the modeling of the figures. Some of his late nudes seem to be made out of rubber. Pieter de Hooch's works are noted, and even treasured, for their doll-like figures which lend them a note of endearing naiveté. Even Rembrandt, toady considered one of the greatest Western draughtsmen, was criticized in the past for the stumpy proportions of his figures.

                                2018救济金6元棋牌It may come as a surprise to know that not even a single drawing by Vermeer of any kind has survived. This seems especially odd if we take into account the complexities of the scenes he painted and the extreme accuracy of contour, scale, and perspective of his compositions. It is far more practical to work out composition and execute preliminary studies on paper that can easily be corrected or redone entirely rather than apply them directly on the canvas.

                                Low-life paintings in the Netherlands

                                The Procuress, Gerrit van Honthorst

                                The Procuress (detail)
                                Gerrit van Honthorst
                                1625
                                Oil on panel, 71 x 104 cm.
                                Centraal Museum, Utrecht

                                Vermeer's Procuress breaks the traditional mold of the bordeeltje (little brothels scene) in more than one way. bordeeltjes girls were always represented with attractive facial features decked out with luxurious, satin clothes that allow them to bear their breasts to clients, one of the necessities of the trade. The chance to render the textural effects of such costumes may have been one of the reasons why so many talented painters were drawn to the subject. Vermeer, however, interpreted the motif according to his own taste.

                                Although there can be no mistake about the young girl's intentions in Vermeer's composition, her lowered eyes and warm smile have little in common with the conventional renderings of his contemporaries, such The Procuress by Gerrit van Honthorst. With her colorful clothing, her cleavage and the feathers in her hair, Van Honthorst's girl is easy to distinguish from the average citizen. The feathers were a reference to her wanton character while the lute she hold by the neck had a clear sexual connotation in the 17th century. Vermeer's young girl, instead, is fully clad with an elegant white cap bordered with a fine bobbin lace—unusual for her profession. Her peaceful self-containment anticipates something of the sublime female characterizations of his later works.

                                A change of style

                                It is not known why the young Vermeer abruptly changed artistic direction, abandoning his initial history subjects (derived from the Bible and classical mythology) for a low-life brothel scene. He may have wished align himself with the times after expected commissions from the nearby artistically conservative court of The Hague failed to materialize. Whatever the reason, the grand scale and brilliant coloring of The Procuress2018救济金6元棋牌 testify an ambitious agenda. Immediately following this work, the young painter turned, if with some measure of uncertainty, to the interiors for which he is now so famous.

                                Low-life paintings in the Netherlands

                                Jan van Bijlert, At the Procuress

                                At the Procuress
                                Jan van Bijlertt
                                Second quarter of 17th century
                                Oil on canvas, 115 x 160 cm.
                                National Museum, Warsaw

                                Various artistic sources, as well as a hypothetical period of training in Utrecht or Amsterdam, have been cited in connection with the ideation of Vermeer's Procuress. Such low-life genre scenes had been popular in Delft and nearby cities since the mid-1620s.

                                One of Vermeer's most likely influences was the successful painter Gerrit van Honthorst, who worked at the Dutch court in The Hague, a mere hour's walk from Delft. The Utrecht painter's reputation, based on a supreme technique, colorful palette and a masterful interpretation of gestures, must have impressed the budding Vermeer as much as it did other artists in Delft. Vermeer was likely also familiar with the works of Gerritsz van Bronchorst (who in the 1650s worked in Amsterdam) and Dirck van Baburen who repeated the bordello scene repeatedly.

                                Vermeer's mother-in-law, Maria Thins, owned Van Baburen's Procuress2018救济金6元棋牌 of 1622 (Museum of Fine Arts, Boston) or a version of it. In any case, the popularity of low-life painting subject matter speaks of a predilection for risqué literature and theater in the Dutch Republic of the period.

                                The balustrade

                                Musical Group on a Balcony, Gerrit van Honthorst

                                Musical Group on a Balcony
                                Gerrit van Honthorst
                                1622
                                Oil on panel, 309 x 114 cm.
                                G. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles

                                Vermeer's decision to place his figures on a narrow balcony or bay, closed in by a balustrade covered by a carpet and fur coat laid across it, has always been a point of criticism among Vermeer scholars. The motif of the balcony is frequently to be found in pictures of "Merry Companies by Jan Gerritsz. van Bronchorst and Christiaen van Couwenbergh. The arrangement derives from Italian mural decorations. The earliest and most celebrated example in the Netherlands of this pictorial device however was Gerrit van Honthorst's Musical Group on a Balcony painted in 1622, two years after his return from Italy. For the artist's contemporaries, the placement of the figures on a balcony would have added an unexpected psychological dimension, since the depicted location would be in some way separated, but at the same time dependent, upon the location occupied by the viewer.

                                Bordeeltje

                                The Procuress, Jan van Bronckhorst

                                "The Procuress
                                Jan Gerritsz van Bronkhorst
                                c. 1636–1638
                                Oil on canvas, 90 x 119 cm.
                                Bruckenthal Museum, Sibiu

                                Vermeer's Procuress would have been immediately recognized by his contemporaries as a bordeeltjes scene. These seductive pictures display a myriad of ambiguous figures, from drunken soldiers to finely dressed ruffians and bare-chested Dutch beauties. Bordeeltjes comprised a valuable sub-category in Dutch genre painting and were avidly snapped up by art collectors of all classes. Brothel scenes primarily depict young, beautiful girls, sometimes as accomplished musicians, who pickpocket or cheat their clients in drink too much. Among the prosititues clients are drunken, misguided men, lecherous old men or easily duped peasants, although well-dressed young man from a good family are also targeted The couple frequently presided over by a procuress (koppelaarster) who genreally pictured as an ugly old woman, who sometimes grins hideously and gestures to the prostitute to extract her pay. At times, the scenes are accompanied gestures that indicate salable love, such as when the thumb is slipped between the index and middle finger (see image below left) or a wine glass held by the stem.

                                Man Making an Obscene Gesture, Godfried Schalken

                                Man Making an Obscene Gesture
                                Godfried Schalcken
                                Second half of 17th century
                                Engraving
                                2018救济金6元棋牌 Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam

                                The popularity of the bordeeltjes motif in a society dominated by moralist Calvinism must have rested on the fact that they simultaneously afforded the viewer with a didactic warning and an undeniably pleasurable viewing experience. Analogously, modern movie-goers hardly blink as they witness the most violent and lewd scenes provided that "good" is triumphant in the end and the bad receive adequate punishment. For the Dutch burgher the supposed moralizing element made it perfectly suitable to hang in a family home.

                                Some, but certainly not all, Dutch bordeeltjes derive from the motif of the Prodigal Son, who is represented frittering his money away on drink and prostitutes in some dank inn. Such scenes appear commonly in prints of the 16th century, such as those by Lucas van Leyden. The parable of the Prodigal Son was used to demonstrate the contrast between Catholic principles and the Reformers' view of the principle of divine mercy, shown when the lost son is received with loving forgiveness by his father. Although Rembrandt's celebrated Return of the Prodigal Son may constitute one of the most touching pictorial elaborations on shame, repentance and forgivingness, many have the impression that Dutch painters utilized the parable as an excuse to indulge in thinly disguised eroticism. Maria Thins, Vermeer's mother-in-law, owned one such bordeeltje by the Utrecht Caravaggist Dirck van Baburen (1590–1624) which Vermeer included in two of his works.

                                In any case, the bordeeltjes of Vermeer's colleagues tend to fill out the plot with far greater detail, and occasionally include some quite graphic allusions. For instance, dogs are pictured copulating in a work by Frans van Mieris in the Mauritshuis. Vermeer's measured version of the theme remains unique in the panorama of Dutch art.

                                Prostitution in the Netherlands

                                Venal Love, Urs Graf

                                Venal Love
                                Urs Graf
                                Woodcut

                                The popular scenes of prostitution (bordeeltjes) habitually portray becoming male and female figures (with typically Dutch faces) decked out in voguish satin. The figures usually fill up the whole composition, bursting out of a rarely specified setting. De rigueur, the prostitue bears her abundant clevage to both the client and the spectator. In reality, however attractive these paintings they cannot be considered accurate representations of 17th-century Dutch prostitution, which was in practice seamy at best. Lotte van de Pol's important studies show that the profession was dominated by poor, desperate women, often migrants.

                                2018救济金6元棋牌Van de Pol reveals that prostitutes, who worked in small-scale taverns and inns, were held hostage financially through perpetual debts for room and board and especially for the fashionable clothing absolutely compulsory for the trade. Van de Pol also argues persuasively against the long-held belief that prostitution was generally tolerated by Dutch municipalities. However, even the most rigorous repression did not eliminate the phenomenon but simply forced its practice into less conspicuous settings such as houses, inns and taverns. Many prostitutes fell into an endless circle of violations, confinements and banishments. The worse cases were punished with branding, flogging or a spell on the public pillory. And however prudent, prostitutes were always exposed to casual violence in the whorehouses and gaming dens. Those who survived the years after 30 were generally left disfigured by venereal disease, punishments and frequent stints in unsavory jails. The best guess is that in Amsterdam there were about 1,000 prostitutes in the late-17th century.

                                As a note, during the Renaissance, the breasts of nudes were generally pictured wide apart, well formed and discreet in dimensions. Before that, the upper body was reduced to flat, barely varied expanse and immaculate pink flesh. However, in mid-seventeenth century the Dutch painters began to represent their female figures with ample busts. Deep cleavage became attractive for the first time and was represented in the visual arts infinite times. Painters like Paulus Moreelse became so adept at picturing young women's ample breasts—perhaps the artist was spellbound by particular beauty of one of his models which he depicted many times—that one wonders if this aspect of female anatomy was not among the artist's most compelling reasons for painting. By necessity, tight-fitting boned stays were worn to squeeze the chest so that breasts and cleavage might become more pronounced. Although exposed cleavage no doubt functioned as an erotic signal, in the Netherlands bared legs were considered even more arousing. In any case, the only time that Vermeer painted the bosom of a woman, not in The Procuress but in the Lady Writing a Letter with her Maid, a slight swelling of the breasts will be noticed only if one searches for it.

                                The procuress in Dutch painting

                                Young Man and the Procuress, Michiel Sweerts

                                Young Man and the Procuress
                                Michiel Sweerts
                                c. 1660
                                Oil on copper, 19 x 27 cm.
                                Musée du Louvre, Paris

                                The organization of Dutch prostitution was a predominantly female matter. As Lotte C. van de Pol explains, "Only about one in five of those arrested for brothel-keeping were men, and they were nearly always the husbands or partners of bawds; husbands often declared the business of prostitution their wife's affair and usually got off with light sentences."

                                * The key figure in the trade of prostitution was the procuress, sometimes referred to as a matchmaker. Dutch painters traditionally portrayed the procuress, always female, as a shriveled hag, better to express their moral vileness. In reality, the majority of these unhappy creatures were even younger, or only somewhat older than the four to five prostitutes they oversaw. The urban procuress generally diversified her illegal activities, receiving stolen goods, organizing music, entertainment, drink and sexual procurement in a so-called musico. Muscios2018救济金6元棋牌 were not brothels in the modern sense of the term where customers came explicitly for sex. Card-playing, backgammon and dice and, of course, heavy drinking and smoking, all provided the procuress income as well as the rate charged for the use of the premises by the girls. Vermeer, like the vast majority of his colleges, avoided even the vaguest suggestion of the real working environment of the trade. We can only make out a rather austere column and what seems to be a hinted-at sunset or the faint flickering of a burning hearth.

                                * drawn from: The Embarrassment of Riches, by Simon Schama (1997)

                                The painting's date

                                The Procuress is one of the few works whose date was undoubtedly applied by Vermeer himself. The signature and the date appears as i v Meer. 1656 (ivM in ligature) at the lower right corner painted in dark brown color. The discovery of the signature and date by Thoré-Bürger during his examination of the painting in 1859 makes for a curious story. Since the painting hung very high in the Dresden Gallery, Thoré-Bürger was allowed by Julius Hübner, member of the Gallery's commission and author of the Gallery's catalogue of 1826, to use a ladder for a close observation. Thoré-Bürger wrote with great enthusiasm of his find: "the first [date] of a painting by the Delft [artist] one is able to report." Three years later the attribution of The Procuress (together with that to the Girl Reading a Letter at an Open Window2018救济金6元棋牌) to "Jan van der Meer. Geb(oren) zu Delft um 1632" was correctly entered in the Dresden Gallery catalogue of 1862.

                                Listen to period music

                                click here to hear A Horn pype [2.65 MB]

                                from:
                                Anthony Holborne, Cittharn School,
                                2018救济金6元棋牌 played on a 4 course chromatic cittern by

                                to view cittern-playing (especially video no. 4 Chi Passa) by Marc Wheeler from the
                                Renaissance group Pantagruel.

                                Cittern

                                The Cittern

                                In Italian Renaissance humanist culture the cittern was regarded as a classical revival of the ancient Greek kithara even though it seems to have its direct development from the medieval citole. It presents some similarities with the fiddle, as its plucked form.

                                2018救济金6元棋牌The structure and tuning of the cittern varied almost from country to country. While in England, France and northern Europe the small four-course-instrument was commonly used, Italian musicians preferred the larger six-course instrument.

                                The cittern achieved the height of its diffusion in the 16th and 17th centuries. Above all in Italy and in England it was held in high esteem both as an accompanying instrument for the singing voice or for dance music. Many compositions written expressively for it, often intricate and demanding to play.

                                2018救济金6元棋牌The great number of paintings depicting a cittern proves the instrument's great popularity in the 17th-century Netherlands. With its flat back it was more robust in structure than the fragile lute, therefore cheaper and more portable. The cittern's easy playability made it the preferred instrument especially of the middle and upper classes for song accompaniment and dance music.

                                The cittern has a shallow round or pear-shaped body tapering from the bottom towards the neck. The body is carved from one piece of wood and only the soundboard and fingerboard were added separately. The use of metal strings plucked with a quill or plectrum gives the instrument its sprightly and cheerful sound, one of the reason for the cittern's great popularity.

                                The art of foreshortening

                                In painting and drawing, the application of perspective to a single object or figure to create the illusion of projection or depth is called foreshortening. It mimics the distorted appearance of a form when it is not perpendicular to the line of sight. For instance, an arm held out directly towards the viewer will look shorter, and the hand larger, than an arm held straight down by the side. One of the cardinal skills taught in Baroque art academies, foreshortening heightens three-dimensional effect and gives dramatic emphasis to gesture. The spectator feels he is part of the pcitured reality. To achieve foreshortening the artist must learn to trust his eyes rather than his mind. Vermeer's mastery of foreshortening would suggest that he was trained by a master who worked in the mode of istoria2018救济金6元棋牌, or history painting.

                                Oddly enough, the most noteworthy examples of anatomical foreshortening can be found in Vermeer's first compositions. In Christ in the House of Martha and Mary, the foreshortening of Mary's slightly tilted head is so effortlessly achieved that it comes as a surprise to see how the artist seems to struggle with the problem of the figure's arm later in The Milkmaid and the hand on the table in The Maid Asleep.

                                The Procuress (detail), Johannes Vermeer

                                By far the most evocative anatomical foreshortening can be observed in The Procuress2018救济金6元棋牌. The marvelous passiveness of the courtesan's out-held, palm-up hand accommodates itself with that of the soldier who is about to delicately flip a gold coin as payment for the mercenary encounter. Four fingers of the courtesan's hand, which point directly towards the viewer's eyes, are so intensely foreshortened that only the genius of Vermeer makes this gesture appear so absolutely natural. The cavalier's foreshortened thumb (the gold coin is foreshortened as well) has become almost invisible and yet we almost sense the built-up energy ready to cause the coin to fall.

                                2018救济金6元棋牌Despite the mercenary purpose of the encounter, the "spiritual" exchange between the couple, uncontaminated by the dark figures that surround them, produce an unexpected effect of intimacy. As Edward Snow wrote, "Unlikely as it may at first seem, there lies at the heart of this painting...what may be one of the most unsentimental, guilt-free, spiritually satisfying representations of shared erotic experience in all of Western art."

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