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Johannes Vermeer was a Dutch painter who lived from 1632-1675. He was known for painting scenes of domestic middle-class lifestyles. He was known for artwork but wasn’t known for painting many paintings in his lifetime. Before going into detail about the Love Letter by JohannesVermeer, I am first going to describe what I see off the bat. The painting takes place in two small rooms with a curtain draping across that is lifted to distinguish the two rooms. The curtain to me symbolizes intimacy and how the painter wants us to feel like we are looking in on someone’s life. The floors are titled with a black and white checkered look which helps give depth to the picture. There are two women, one sitting in a chair holding a Lute (which looks like a guitar) across her lap with one hand and the other hand holding what looks like a letter. She is wearing a yellow skirt with a matching yellow and white top. Her hair is covered with also the same color yellow wrap. Her facial expression looks confused as she looks up to another woman which I assumed is her maid or servant standing above her. The Servant is wearing a blue skirt with a brown and white top. Her hair is also covered with a white wrap. She is standing with her hand on her hip with a grin on her face.
To me, the servant looks like she knows something and is pleased with the fact that she does. There are also two paintings on the wall that I noticed. One of the paintings is of a sailboat on a bright sunny day with white clouds and the other is a forest with a person standing in the distance. What I also noticed that was interesting, was a broom, slippers, laundry basket, etc. all sporadically placed on the floor. To me, this comes across as a way to relate to the viewers. It symbolizes everyday lifestyles with the everyday stuff that goes on. Light is a big element in this painting, the back of the painting is where my eye goes to first because there is the most light there. The shadowed doorway helps the draperydistinguish the two rooms. The light comes from the left and the moves to the servant and then on the woman. You really get to see the flow of the light and how it moves throughout. There is so much meaning in this painting that you don’t see my first glance. I love how I had to observe and dissect this piece of art to really get to the bottom of what is going on. How you can tell that the work of art is from the period/style it is from. The period of the love letter by Johannes was Baroque art in the Dutch Republic. There are many reasons why I can tell that the work of art is from this period. It has movement, emotional intensity, real, effects of light, diagonals, dynamism, and energy. Baroque art emotional intensity which the love letter definitely has.
The Intensity of the letter in the women’s hand and what the letter symbolizes gets us interested in what the letter even says. Another way to tell is diagonals, we see this in the way the light is moving. The light in the love letter is diagonal throughout the painting. Another way to tell is that the Baroque paintings in the Dutch Republic were real and not idealized. In the love letter, we see real-life actions. No matter how old the painting is I still feel like that can be receiving a love letter and I feel the emotion as to what that woman is feeling. Another way to tell is there is an allusion to space. We see this through the flooring which has shadows and we see this through the drapery.
One might say isn’t this the same has every time period. The answer is no, looking back at the renaissance paintings we see that instead of emotion there’s more serenity, instead of the effects of light it is clearer, and instead of being realized is idealized. Discuss the historical period that the work was created in. During the era of Baroque art in the Dutch Republic in the 17thcentury, the population was flourishing. Most people were rich and proud and with that came major influence. Not just influence by the people but from the people. They were addicted to fine art. More than 4 million paintings were introduced to the world. This kind of art was very different from any other eras.
The Dutch were protestant which means that they looked down on the Catholic style art. Once they figured out the way they want to live that foreshadowed in the art. Theart was all about high quality, fine things, houses, and much more. Artists began to paint portraits, interiors, genre paintings, and still life’s, for people to hang in ordinary homes. During this time a school of Dutch Realism was introduced and it was known for being the greatest movements of oil painting. One of its leading members was of course Vermeer.
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