Thursday, August 15, 2013

Dutch Baroque (pt. 12)

This is another painting from a kind of closet view, called The Love Letter.  There are two women in a room: one is a servant, the other is receiving a letter.  The woman with the letter looks at the servant, who smiles back.  A story is being told here in a very creative way.  The paintings on the wall might hint to us that the writer of the letter is away at sea.  The woman's expression implies that it is an important letter being given, and the title denotes a sentimental interpretation of that.  The servant's expression also seems to say that it could be a letter from a lover, and the fact that the lady is playing the lute also demonstrates that she is a romantic woman.  But all of this is seen from afar.  The viewer (that's us) is in a dark closet, but the two women are well-lit in the room in front.  Here, nearly half of the painting is concealed in darkness.  Once again, the black and white tiles on the floor show linear perspective and lead us into the action of that room.  We are drawn to the event taking place, but we remain far away in this private chamber.  Perhaps it was to give us the sensation that what we are seeing is completely real and candid, not prearranged and staged like other portraits of the time.  Perhaps he wanted to go a step further from Hals and display the true human emotions of individuals when they know that no one else is watching.  Why do you think Vermeer chose to paint from this perspective?

No comments:

Post a Comment