Johannes Vermeer


12/05/16 - Johannes Vermeer's artworks are re-interpreted by every new generation. It is now the turn for Franits Wayne, who, in his study, explains how Vermeer (Netherlands, 1632 -1675) built his "spaces" using the newest optical artifacts of his time, like lenses and mirrors.
Let's not forget that Vermeer could dedicate all the time he wanted to his works because he had married a wealthy woman and could do without selling his paintings. This allowed him to buy the optic gadgets that made his art unique. His works have such a visual intensity that it is believed that those objects played a key role in their genesis. Wayne explains that in the movie "Girl with the pearl earring" (2003), we see a black box in the artist's studio. Apparently it was a pinhole camera (camera obscura), an early origin of photography. Light from a scene passes through the aperture and projects an inverted image on the opposite side of the box, which could then be traced. Thanks to this gadget, Vermeer would scale down the objects, but not the intensity of the real coloring or the light reflected on them, creating a very particular effect. The camera obscura was an element frequently used in 18th Century painting.
The milkmaid, by Johannes Vermeer (c.1658-1659)
Technique: oil on canvas / Measures: 45.5 x 41 cm
In the painting "The milkmaid" a little hole was discovered through which Vermeer would have placed a snail and tied to it ropes indicating the orthogonals. However, he would take certain liberties in his construction of the space, mainly because of aesthetic reasons. Yoriko Kobayashi-Sato pointed out that the right border of the table is not synchronized with the other elements of the scene. Sato believes it was a conscious decision to enhance the feminine figure. A larger table would have made the woman smaller. Plus, he placed the milk jar in the middle and other objects in between to create a perfect composition.
(To be continued...)
Keep reading... "Vermeer", by Franits Wayne, Phaidon, 2015, New York.

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Liliana Wrobel

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