Masterworks Monday: Vermeer

28 Mar

I love modern & contemporary art.   Artists who find a new way of translating our reality fascinate me.  But the Art History geek in me also loves to look back at what was groundbreaking eons ago.  We have so much to learn from those who came before us, so each Monday will be dedicated to a work by one of the “Masters”. 

First up, one of my favorite artists whose work I’ve seen in person when visiting the Frick Collection in New York.

Officer and Laughing Girl  by Johannes Vermeer, Dutch painter 1632-1675.

Most of us are familiar with what may be Vermeer’s best known work, Girl With a Pearl Earring, but for me, he is at his best in his “slice of life” compositions such as Officer and Laughing Girl.  In this captured moment, Vermeer gives us a glimpse into a private, shared conversation.  Is this a young girl being courted by a gallant officer?  What is their relationship?  Vermeer leaves us in wonder.

Vermeer’s paintings are usually much cooler in tone than those of his contemporaries and this one is no exception.  The light coming in through the leaded glass windows is clear, but feels frostly, especially in contrast to the warm tones of the officer and girl’s clothing and the looks being exchanged.

For more information on Vermeer, here are a few sources:

The Essential Vermeer

The Frick Collection, which houses several Vermeers, including the one above

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