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Woman with a Water Jug, 1660-62

However, there is one thing I noticed about Vermeer that seems particularly interesting.  The background of his interiors borrows from the main color in the garment people are wearing.  This process creates a degree of continuity to his paintings.  However, here, the white hat and cape are major factors in the manner Vermeer shapes the canvas and gives the whole painting the pale or bright area it requires.


A Lady Drinking and a Gentleman, c. 1658

In this painting the red of the dress colors some of the floor tiles.  Yet, the white wall is suddenly blue.  The way Vermeer allows the light to touch here and there brightens up the painting considerably.

19womanGirl Reading a Letter at an Open Window (detail), 1657

This painting is nearly monochromatic, but that is because it is a detail.  The detail looks like a gold and black painting.  The darkened wall makes the girl’s face stand out.  This is a common technique, but would that more of us could do this so well.

© Micheline Walker
13 December 2012
composer: Georg PhillippTelemann (1681-1767)
piece: Cantata “Seele, lerne dich erkennen” for soprano, recorder, and basso continuo TWV1:1258
performers: Ensemble Caprice
soprano: Monika Mauch
director: Matthias Maute
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