Saturday, March 14, 2020

Motifs of Real Life - Vermeer

Dutch painting of the Golden Age; Vermeer...

Dienstmagd mit Milchkrug (The Milkmaid) Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam Dienstmagd mit Milchkrug (The Milkmaid) Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam

This landmark exhibition (2017, 2018; no longer exhibited...) examines the artistic exchanges among  Johannes Vermeer and his contemporaries from the mid-1650s to around 1680, when they reached the height of their technical ability and mastery of genre painting, or depictions of daily life. The introduction of quiet scenes unfolding in private household spaces and featuring elegant ladies and gentlemen was among the most striking innovations of Dutch painting of the Golden Age, a time of unparalleled innovation and prosperity. The exhibition brings together nearly 70 works by Vermeer and his fellow painters, including   Gerard ter Borch,  Gerrit Dou,   Pieter de Hooch,   Gabriel Metsu,   Frans van Mieris,   Caspar Netscher, and   Jan Steen , who lived in various towns throughout the Dutch Republic, from Delft and Deventer to Amsterdam and Leiden. Juxtaposing paintings related by theme, motif, and composition, the exhibition explores how these artists inspired, rivaled, surpassed, and pushed each other to greater artistic achievement. The exhibition features 10 paintings by Vermeer (many of which have not been seen in the United States since the Gallery’s 1995–1996 exhibition   Johannes Vermeer), including The Lacemaker (c. 1669–1670, Musée du Louvre, Paris) and  The Love Letter (c. 1669–1670, Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam). A fully illustrated catalog features essays by the curators and essays and entries by a team of international scholars.

Dienstmagd mit Milchkrug (The Milkmaid) Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam
Girl Interrupted at Her Music, 1660–61 Frick Collection, New York

Dienstmagd mit Milchkrug (The Milkmaid) Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam
Girl with a Pearl Earring, c. 1665 Oil on canvas, Mauritshuis, The Hague

Johannes Vermeer, Woman Holding a Balance, c. 1664, oil on canvas, National Gallery of Art, Washington, Widener Collection

 Art as "Motifs of Real Life"...

My own art has always been influenced by the idea of "motif" and "real life". Much of abstract, post-abstract, and "contemporary" art lacks these directions, ending up full of sound and fury, signifying nothing, or worse, nothing but trivial decoration.

Impressionist and Post-Impressionist artists used "Real Life" motifs (i.e., "what the painting is about"), sharply in contrast to the idealized "not real" subject matter of established academicism,  to see more, go here - " Impressionist - Post Impressionist Motifs"

Dienstmagd mit Milchkrug (The Milkmaid) Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam


Christ in the House of Martha and Mary

Vermeer - Girl with a Red Hat

I like to think of my artwork motifs quite specifically.  That is, the works here are not "portrait of a woman"; they are Eva and Shannon.