Contemplate and Konangal
Documentary on Art
‘Private Life of a Masterpiece-
Vermeer’s The Art of Painting’
14th December 2013; 5.45 pm
Contemplate Art Galley ,
Avanashi Rd, Opp. Krishnammal College
Johannes Vermeer was a Dutch Baroque painter who was specialized in painting domestic interior scenes of ordinary life. In his life he produced relatively few paintings (35 paintings), and thus left his family in debt at the time of his death. He painted few paintings as he worked slowly and with great care. Bright colours were common in his paintings, but sometimes he also used expensive pigments. However, he is renowned for his use of light. He is now acknowledged as one of the greatest painters of the Dutch Golden Age.
This painting is called The Art of Painting, but it is also known as The Allegory of Painting or Painter in his studio. It is a famous 17th century oil on canvas painted by Jan Vermeer. Many experts in art believe that this work is an allegory of painting, and thus, the different titles. The painting has only two figures, the painter and his subject. The painter is thought to be a self-portrait of the artist, though the face is not visible. The subject is the Muse of History, Clio. The map in the background is of the Seven United Provinces of the Netherlands
In The Art of Painting Vermeer gave more attention to light and textural effects at the rear of the room. Moreover, the light falling across Clio, the model’s hands, face and robe show the softness of Clio’s skin. The effect of light is also visible on the map, where the light models its form and reflects its aged appearance. Finally, another object captured by the light is the chandelier, where the sunlight reflecting off its polished surface makes it really beautiful. This light contracts in an amazing way with the dark parts of the chandelier.
The Art of Painting holds a special place within Vermeer's oeuvre. While it displays all the captivating characteristics of his artistic genius -- a carefully observed seventeenth-century Dutch interior illuminated by softly diffused light, exquisitely painted details, and a frozen moment imbued with psychological depth -- it stands apart from his other works in its imposing scale and pronounced allegorical character.