Saturday, February 19, 2011

What if Vermeer had a camera?

Most people know that Johannes Vermeer was a painter. He actually was a great painter, he lived in the XVII century and developed a singular but very recognizable style. He lived in Delft, the worldwide famous Dutch city because their blue painted ceramics (although this was a later thing). Vermeer went about painting middle class people doing simple day to day thing or activities. A good example would be “The Girl With a Pearl Earring” which is probably his most famous or known of his works. Other famous ones are “The Milkmaid” or "Kitchen Maid" which depicted a woman pouring milk or “Woman in Blue Reading a Letter ”, which does not require further description .  If  you want to see some of these masterpieces, I recommend visiting the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam and the Mauritshuis in the Hague, both in The Netherlands.  They also have a great collection of Rembrandt paintings, in case you need an extra incentive. Alternatively, you could see some of them here although is not and will never be the same as the ‘real thing’…uhm, that reminds me of something else.

Vermeer’s signature style of these paintings was to portray people in front a window, doing whatever they were doing. The window was the main source of light and was always on one side, mostly the left. Because this, people and objects within the room were illuminated in one direction. 

This is exactly was came to my mind when I saw the scene (at right) while visiting Kings Landing Historic Settlement in New Brunswick, which is part of Atlantic Canada. The scene was completely coincidental, the girl is an actress who greets visitors. It seems that it was a slow day and she was just looking a the silent outside while waiting for people to come in. I instantly thought  “this would be a Vermeer, if he only had a photographic camera”. I took the shot.

One last thing, Vermeer NEVER showed the outside world through the window.. nothing is perfect!

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