Saturday, July 9, 2011

The Virtue of Temperance

Woman with a Lute (c. 1663) by Johannes Vermeer

From July 8 to September 26, the Norton Simon Museum will be exhibiting Vermeer's Woman with a Lute. This painting is on loan from the Metropolitan Museum and is making its first showing on the West Coast. It is one of Vermeer's "Pearl Pictures" catching a moment frozen in time, luminescent and dream-like.

Vermeer is probably my favorite painter. When the National Gallery of Art in Washington DC had their amazingly comprehensive exhibit back in late '95, I actually took some vacation time and flew out to attend the opening week. It was so very worth the effort and expense. I know that I write this a lot in these posts, but no reproduction can do these painting justice. The layers of glaze and diluted saturated pigments that Vermeer uses captures the light within the paintings. It is as if they have an inner glow.

Of course, I had to attend the opening display of this painting on Thursday night. Yeah, I braved the crowd of over 500 fellow art enthusiasts and rush hour traffic on the Pasadena Freeway to do so, but I would have spent the night in regrets if I didn't. ;-)

Reception in the Garden

Reception in the Entry Hall

I can write all day about the glories of Vermeer's paintings. Over the next few months, I'll be visiting the Norton Simon to view this painting many times. Perhaps I'll write a series of posts on Vermeer and why I so adore his works. Perhaps. . .

But for now, here's a cool slide show with some other paintings by Vermeer:

And here's some period lute music by Nicolas Vallet:

Here's the Norton Simon Museum website.

And here's Vermeer's Wikipedia page.


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