A Study of Vermeer, Revised and Enlarged Edition
We respond so intensely to Vermeer, suggests Edward Snow in this landmark study of the artist, because his paintings reach so deeply into our lives. Our desire for images, the distances that separate us, the validations we seek from the still world, the traces of ghostliness in our own human presence - these are Vermeer's themes. Whether his paintings depict a remote view of the everyday life of a city, an intimate exchange between a man and a woman, or a solitary figure absorbed in some familiar activity, their quiet realism is in dialogue with the uncanny, and has the power both to estrange and reassure. Scenes like A View of Delft can make us feel, in Snow's words, "either that we are in the hands of God or that all passes into oblivion, either that we are weighted down or weightlessly suspended, either that the world is there beneath our feet or that nothing exists beyond the moment of perception." As the author traces the elaborately counterpoised sensations that make up Vermeer's equanimity, he opens our eyes to a depicted world where nuances proliferate and details continually surprise. A Study of Vermeer, first published in 1979 and here presented in a revised and intricately enlarged version, is passionate and visual in its commitments. Snow works from the conviction that viewing pictures is a reciprocal act - symbiotic, consequential, real. His analysis of Vermeer's paintings are focused on details and conducted in a language of patient observation; at the same time they bring the act of looking to the viewing threshold, where imperatives of distance-keeping mingle with fantasies of crossing over and taking apart. Such close attention to the paintings involves the reader in anexperience of deepening relationship and ongoing visual discovery. A Study of Vermeer has been designed to facilitate this process: over eighty illustrations, fifty-nine in color (including two full-page foldouts), accompany the text so that the details under discussion will be
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Allegory Artist artist/viewer aspects background Blankert brothel brothel scene canvas Christ Christiaen van Couwenbergh Concert consciousness counterpoint Couple Standing dark Degas Degas's depicted desire detail distance earlier painting Edward Snow elaborately erotic face feel female finials foreground frame gaze Gemaldegalerie genre scenes Gentleman and Girl gesture Girl Asleep Girl Reading Girl with Music Glass of Wine Gowing hand head herselt Holding a Balance House of Martha Johannes Vermeer Lawrence Gowing light look man's map's Martha and Mary mask maulstick mirror misogyny object Open Window painter painting's Pieter de Hooch pitcher presence Procuress pull Putting on Pearls Reading a Letter realm relationship Roman Charity seems sense Seventeen Provinces sexual Soldier and Young space standing woman Studio 49 tapestry things three genre scenes trom viewer Virginal 44 visible vision Woman Drinking Woman Holding women Young Girl Smiling young woman