Thursday, January 3, 2013

~My Secret Holiday~Epic Entanglement~with Johannes!

What began as an innocent tete-a-tete escalated into an "Epic Entanglement" of the heart!Okay_so I have a vivid imagination! Johannes or Jan_as in Johannes Vermeer(1632-1675),was a famous Dutch Painter who specialized in domestic interior scenes of middle class life.He lived in Delft,a city in Amsterdam,now Dutch Republic(Netherlands). It is an historical Dutch towne center with canals(just like Venice,Italy),Delft Blue pottery and the Dutch Royal family,the House of Orange-Nassau.

"View of Delft" by Vermeer(1660-61)

View of Delft_Today!

What would his works say to me? How would I respond? Will I be able to resist this brilliant man's hold on me? The thing is_at our first dalliance, Jan's back was to me_so I wasn't able to know this Creature.He sat painting... I noticed the carefully slashed doublet jacket's back and sleeves_a costume of  his times.Although,I'd wear a jacket(doublet) of this style today_a fashion statement,indeed! Is this really Johannes self -portrait of his back no less!Some believe it so.I peered a little closer to reveal...
 ..YET,another famous painting of  Jan's_"The Art of Painting"(1666-1673).The woman wears the crown of leaves,holds a trombone in her right hand and a book in her left.Ahhhh,yes that is a symbol for_"Clio The Muse of History"! It is rather thought of as a painting depicting an historical event as opposed to the praise of the art of painting.The  map on the wall depicts old Netherlands,the golden glittering chandelier with a double-headed eagle is a symbol for sight,the manipulation of the folds,tucks and textual qualities of her blue dress,his use of a camera obscura(a precursor of modern photographic camera)in the not so in focus folded fabrics and the use of a drawn-back tapestry _enticing me to pull the curtain back a little farther...How clever of you Johannes!

The first week in December was when this tete-a-tete started.I read the fictional novel "Girl in Hyacinth Blue"by Susan Vreeland,followed it up with the movie based upon the novel,_"A Brush of Fate"(Glenn Close,Ellen Burstyn,Thomas Gibson)_then I completed the book "Vermeer(The Complete Paintings)" by Norbert Schneider_followed that up with the movie,_"Girl With A Pearl Earring"(Colin Firth,Scarlett Johansson)all in the span of two weeks! Both the Books and Movies were Holiday gifts from a girlfriend and my husband_they know I love Vermeer! Now,I'm reading "Girl With A Pearl Earring" by Tracy Chevalier_AND_ "Luncheon of the Boating Party "by Susan Vreeland based on the Auguste Renoir's  masterful painting of the same name...I smell another "affair of the heart" coming on!

Now this...

BUT,Still no face to the man whose paintings have intrigued me for years! I fell in love with Johannes many years ago_in the early 70's, when I first laid eyes on ...

                                    "Girl with a Pearl Earring",c.1665

Johannes portraits of women_young women_were mostly in a narrative situation.Activities such as musical instruments,scales,playing the Virginal,etc.The above painting plus two others lack those situations.

THE GIRL, above is sat against a neutral,dark background,nearly black 3D effect.She gazes at us,lips slightly parted_as if to speak,head inclined to suggest a girl in thought_yet she has a very keen gaze!Dressed in an unadorned,brownish-yellow mustardly jacket,shiny white collar contrast,blue turban,lemon -yellow,veil-like cloth falls from the peak of the turban_all give an exotic effect.Turbans were a popular fashionable accessory in Europe as early as 15th century.BUT_a large,tear-shaped pearl hanging from the girl's ear with a golden sheen_is the standout,the focal point!

From that day forward this Mustard color combined with the Cornflower Blue became my favorite colors to wear.It is still a fashionable color today! We can learn  about fashionable color combinations and dress from the Old Master Paintings!  The PEARLS_well...that's another story.I've loved Pearls since as a small child my Grandmother said,"A Lady is not dressed properly until she has on Pearls". I prize my sets of pearls..especially the "Black Pearls" my husband gave me for an Anniversary present one year! My favorite to wear is the triple string of Pearls_I gave myself one year after a "very,very"successful year in Medical Sales!

                                                 "Tahitian Black Pearls"

Vermeer's painting always depicted some form of symbolism for the time.Women were painted doing some sort of chore,i.e."The Milkmaid",The Lacemaker"_to teach the virtue of work,or they might demonstrate their skills in music as in_"The Concert" or "Lady Seated at a Virginal"_or the more devious behaviour as in "Girl Asleep at a Table" or genre painting of women in brothels! Musical instruments were popular during this time.Jan even painted a "Girl with a Flute"_ an instrument associated with orgies and erotica...who knew that about the Flute! And_guess what? The wearing of pearls symbolized a negative attribute in a female_considered to be a vain person...WTH? Come on Johannes,really?

Finally,in what some consider a Self-Portrait in his painting of "The Procuress"(1656)_oil-on-canvas  shows a genre scene in a brothel_one of the two women is the eponymous procuress,while the figure on the left has been identified by some as main man!
The "Brothel Paintings"_a subcategory of Dutch genre paintings_ proved to be a fascinating theme for many Painters of that time.They were meant to teach a lesson_to convey norms and valuable lessons of moral living!

The drinking of Wine,the table parallel to the frame acting as a barrier between the observer and the participants in the scene,the young woman in yellow,her flushed cheeks,holding a glass of wine,as the creature above rest his hand on her bosom area and the reveller on the left sits in dark clothing suggest_everything can be bought,including LOVE! Her tipsy smile,the open hand to receive the coins in payment of her services from the cavalier with his decorous feathered hat & vermillion jerkin_as the procuress,the old woman in black looks on to perhaps to the completion of her successful scheme_Head Madam if you will! Moral lesson learned....fill in the blank space provided:______________________________.

Enough I proclaimed! I had fallen deep into Johannes compositions,the depiction of light and his gentle brush techniques_that gave such a high degree of realism I clung to his beautiful slashed doublet as if  for my life! I imagined a Duel between Johannes and John(my husband)_choice words were spoken_weapons of mass destruction were chosen...John has many "Marksmanship Ribbon Awards" while in the military...I was not worried!

The duel being based upon a code of honour..not so much to harm the opponent as to gain "satisfaction"_ to restore one's honour by demonstrating a willingness to risk one's life for it all...just for ME!

It seems I'd fallen into a deep,deep sleep with Vermeer (The Complete Paintings) book laid across my chest...his complete works open to my Soul.

My abyss...bottomless pit to my heart was tumbling,tumbling fast...

Until...Awaken from the throes of this moment of reckoning_I heard a distant first I couldn't make out the voice, I'd heard it before I was sure..what were those words?????

            "Honey Doodles,What's for Dinner"?

And so my "Epic Entanglement Ended"...Saved by "My John". 

That's a Good Thing!...because,I was trying to figure out how to be a Stepmother to Johannes 15 children...

And it was not a pretty picture! But,I am...

Forever Yours Johannes!!!!!!!!

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