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Compare two images - Essay Example

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Jan Vermeer belongs to the elite world of Dutch painting and its Golden Age. He was a great artist, who could draw beauty from limited subjects. He depicted Dutch life and usually created brilliant art from mundane day-to-day happenings. He never felt the necessity of looking for gorgeous beauty…
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Download file to see previous pages "Vermeer did not do a preparatory drawing to be filled in by color. The first stage of his paintings consists of a structure of clearly contrasting light and shade where form emerge without drawing," Arasse (1993, p.52).
One of his celebrated paintings, Mistress and the Maid clearly expresses the suppressed motion and activity, where maid brings a letter to the already letter-writing mistress and both seem to be aware of the importance of incoming letter. The letter writer has stopped writing while gazing at the letter in maid's hand. It is a painting full of motion, activity, and both women are caught in mid-conversation. Vermeer, born in 1632, son of a silk merchant, had excess to the world of fashion and fine clothes and his paintings reflect this knowledge in a sophisticated and effective way. They grant opulence to the painting and its dcor.
Exceptionally luminous figures, almost three dimensional against the dark background are highly coherent in their fashion and movements. If the mistress is showing the high fashion of the day of genteel families, maid, though representing a lower salaried class, is extremely neat, correctly attired and almost as attention-catching as the mistress in luminous yellow. It is not a mean feat, as maid is wearing almost a merging colour and she is pitted against the bright yellow full of life worn by a more beautiful woman. Still Vermeer does not fail in making them equally attractive. Many of his women were bright yellow and golden yellow. The cut and style of head dresses of those days was very different from styles of other countries. They are entirely Dutch styles of the day. Hair is kept simple without elaboration. In this painting, fashionable wardrobe helps to bring across the visual dialogue between the two women, while showing the difference in class, work and attitude. It is difficult to miss the intense psychological impact created by the just arrived letter. Vermeer is famous for using 'camera obscura' to view his subjects and present them in a moment of fluidity.


A famous painting of excellent composition, brilliant and uncommonly real foreground, with a double bass on the floor, Music Class reflects a tender moment between the pupil and music teacher. Some critics have mentioned that Vermeer might have immortalised love, pointing out the blue chair and untouched double bass on the floor; but this could be mere speculation. Painting catches a moment of arrested action as per the blurred reflection in the mirror. Most of Vermeer's painting colours show the costumes of rich Dutch merchant class in mid 17th century. After the execution of Charles I, Cromwell's administration was not a particular period of art's supremacy in England and France was plagued with internal troubles and hence, Holland had the centre stage for fashion in Europe and this has reflected many times in his paintings.

The ebony framed mirror which reflects the girl from a rather impossible angle that cannot be noticed in her demeanour becomes the focal point of the painting. Vermeer, who had a special penchant for light and shadow display clearly gave more attention to that pleasure than to his subjects and it could be seen in both paintings that light has been used with ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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