Vermeer: the artist who taught the world to see ordinary beauty

 

Johannes Vermeer is such a quiet and introspective artist that it took hundreds of years for anyone to notice he was a genius. Today he is so revered that it is hard to grasp how unknown he once was.

A major Vermeer exhibition opens this month at the Louvre in Paris, whose permanent collection includes his great painting of a woman absorbed in close, visually demanding work, The Lacemaker (about 1669-70). Her eyes are concentrated downward on the tiny stuff her steady hands are making, while our eyes in turn take in precise and glistening details: bright red threads against blue cloth, silvery beads, the grain of a table covering, her finely curled ringlets.

Like other paintings by Vermeer, this image haunts modern culture. It gave its title to a classic French film starring Isabelle Huppert. That modern cultural fascination with this 17th-century artist runs from Tracy Chevalier to Marcel Proust, who put Vermeer’s View of Delft into The Remembrance of Things Past.

Source:  Art and design | The Guardian

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