Monday, June 19, 2023

Close to Vermeer

There are some quirky iterations in Suzanne Raes's Close to Vermeer which deals with the Rijkmuseums amassing of 28 paintings for their recent show. Vermeer is called “the Sphinx of Delft” due to the fact that he left no evidence or context for his work. "Rich people do a great thing, they die" is another, said with respect to major works which might have been closeted and are now placed on the market again. But the central drama of the film, if you could call it that, revolves around the authenticity of the "Girl With a Flute," one of three Vermeers at the National Gallery of Art. The crux of the questioning goes back to the mysterious void in which Vermeer seems to exist. The curatorial staff of the National Gallery decides that Vermeer, in fact, was de facto part of a community. The minute eccentricities in the application of paint reflect the fact that it's the work of another artist. Perhaps Vermeer ran a studio filled with acolytes. "Girl With a Flute is leant as 'not Vermeer,' Pieter Roelofs, the co-curator of the show tells Amsterdam's Het Parool, "but we will hang it as a real Vermeer." In this regard Close to Vermeer is a bit like a coroner's report with the results creating a minor scandal that makes the pages of The Guardian and The New York Times. BTW the final autopsy could be said to be filed by Jonathan Janson, a painter and Vermeer expert, in concert with Gregor J.M. Weber, the Rijksmuseum's Head of Fine and Decorative Arts--neither a slouch when it comes to the Dutch master's work.

read "The Real Thing" by Francis Levy, HuffPost

and listen to "It's Your Thing" by the Isley Brothers.

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