Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Still banging away

Do you know the difference between Rembrandt and Vermeer?

Well, two things jump to mind:  First, Rembrandt was all about the shadows and Vermeer was all about the light.  Which is the same thing, really, but just a different way of thinking.

Second, and more to the point, you click on the Rijksmuseum's collection of Rembrandts and you get access to more than a thousand images.  You click on Vermeer and you get four.  Which is a more manageable load.

So I've downloaded the four Vermeer images (which, despite me mumbling about the real-world resolution of paintings in the post below, are really interesting to look at highly magnified) into meijne zekondishe verzameling.

Which is me just making up the Dutch.

But we're having fun.  And it's educational.  I mean, I'm a painter -- this is what I'm supposed to be doing when I'm not painting.  Or writing my novella about Vietnam.  Or looking up the times for the afternoon show of The Great Gatsby.  Or living my life in general.

Plus, art historians commonly suggest that the three greatest guys with black are Carravagio, Beckman and me.  So it'll do me some good to see all that light streaming through Vermeer's windows.

On a related note, check out this classic post from 2006 ...

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The Girl with the Pearl Earring

About a year ago I was sitting at a table at Elmo, the somewhat-stylish restaurant on 7th Avenue between 19th and 20th Street, in somewhat-stylish Chelsea, staring at the hostess, trying to figure out what it was about her that I found so compelling. I disregarded the fact that she's a knock-out--there was something else.

Then it hit me--she looked just like the girl in Vermeer's "Girl With the Pearl Earring." Or at least she looked as much like that whiter-than-white Dutch girl from the 17th Century as a modern woman of color could.

This, of course, is Vermeer's version (cropped a little, I think):



This is the girl from Elmo (also cropped a little):



And this is the portrait I painted of her:



It's called "Elena C. (Girl With the Pearl Earring, 2005)"

I happened to have a round 42" canvas sitting around the studio. I could never quite decide what I wanted to do with it. But it seemed perfect for this particular task.

But really, what's spooky is how much Elena looks like the Vermeer girl.

Dee dee dee dee (this would be the theme from the Twilight Zone playing).

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Wow.


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