Vermeer is so modern. The power of his glimpses of ‘glanced’ moments is immense. Can remember going around a wonderful gallery last summer and I just kept returning to a Vermeer. Something so fragile and yet so enduring about the way we slip uninvited into a world that is so brimming with questions and expectancy. Had me in tears as he can capture the snatched privacy of the daily, and then for us to look again 400 hundred years later….like a blessing somehow.
This is one of my favourite paintings by Vermeer and like Woolf’s best writing communicates through seemingly indirect suggestion:
what is the woman reading with such concentration? who is the letter from and is she pleased? Is she resolved upon a course of action? Why is she alone? What is the significance of the map to her emotional or psychical well being? And the blue dress just straining at her body in nearly full term pregnancy creates a gently tender affect..the window we presume is open. Does she need air? Or is it the letter that has made her need fresh air? Or is she enjoying the pleasure of the special letter through the light? Does she feel blessed by what she is reading or thwarted?
We know we are looking at a human being.
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