Thursday, May 1, 2014
Girl Reading a Letter at an open window
In his book Vermeer’s Hat Professor, Timothy Brooks takes us through the vibrant trade between the new Dutch Republic and the far east, specifically China. He goes through almost every painting identifying objects used by Vermeer and connecting them with the Dutch trade via the first publicly traded company in the world, the Dutch East India Company, Vereenigde Oostindische Compagnie or VOC for short.
Reading the book gave me some ideas about what could possibly doing the “Girl Reading a Letter at an open Window” a.k.a. “The Letter Reader”. Here is my story which is split into two images. Fist the girl in Vermeer’s painting is gone, second a woman is there reading the letter.
First: A girl has read a letter from her lover; a merchant traveling to the Far East on a trading ship. The window is her favourite place to read his letters; the bright light allows her to see all the details of her lover's writings. By now, she carefully folded the letter and tucked in with the all others in a secure drawer in the dresser next room. The Picture in the background reflects the time when she was anxiously reading the letter.
The self-repeating theme in the frame is an allegory to the many times this scene has occurred in the past but also, to the infinite nature of Vermeer's work.
Second (right): Catharine Bolnes, Vermeer wife has found a letter from an admirer addressed of one of her
older daughters. She must have forgotten to put it away. Catharina is now reading the letter in stupor realizing that her daughter hasn't told her about this pretender. Why hasn't she told her, Is she preparing to elope, like she and Johannes did?
Inspired by Johannes Vermeer -Girl reading a letter at an open window- c. oil on canvas 32 3/4 x 25 3/8 (84 x 65.5 cm) Staaliche Kunstammlungen, Dresden.
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