Tuesday, April 11, 2023

View of Delft

Vermeer’s “View of Delft” (1659-61), currently on display at Rijksmuseum's sold out exhibit, is a secret shared by the painter and the viewer. The figures on the shore who should be enjoying "the view" are obviously preoccupied. Vermeer has intentionally made them small in comparison to the prepossessing structure. Great art is like the theory of eternal return. It exists in parallel universes. Over the infinity of time, a painting of Delftians or others staring admiringly at the town would inevitably arise. Vermeer was interested in the inward gaze (and the vastness of interiority in general) such as in “Lady With a Pearl Earring.” The inward and outward in tandem is exemplified by “Lady Writing a Letter.” The outward gaze, on its own, is demonstrated by “Officer With Laughing Lady” in which the light flowing through an open window and a map of the world both highlight the external world. These days there's a lot of talk about the male gaze and the countervailing objectivization of men in the female version. But Vermeer’s gaze is an ars poetica, a credo which celebrates the artist's act of seeing. Some facts. Vermeer, who died in a day and half at 42, had 15 children of which only 11 survived. Only 36 of his approximately 60 paintings are extant. 28 are represented in the current show.

read "A Taxonomy of The Goldfinch" by Francis Levy, HuffPost

and listen to "Misty Roses" by Tim Hardin

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