Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Interior of a Dutch World

Detail of Woman Drinking with Soldiers (1658) by Pieter de Hooch

I love paintings from the Dutch Golden Age. Although Vermeer is my favorite, I often feel that Pieter de Hooch comes in second. It's the intimacy of the interior genre scene, a humanizing image, that captures my enthusiasm, pulling my imagination back in time to life in the 17th century.

Pieter de Hooch's work has an undeniable beauty, a lustre, that entrances the eye with subtle plays of light, delineations of space, colors both muted and bright. And the narrative of the image is perhaps the thing that I adore most. His paintings are frozen instances of a tale, as if caught in amber, making the viewer consider the activity which is taking place and that which may arise from this moment.

Courtyard of a House in Delft (1658) by Pieter de Hooch

Back in 1996, I once assigned myself a writing practice: for a month, look at a new de Hooch each day and outline a story inspired by it. Nothing ever came of it, but it was a fun and challenging experiment. Maybe I'll try it again some day.

One of my favorite works in the local museums, here in Los Angeles, is de Hooch's Woman Preparing Bread and Butter for a Boy in the Getty Museum.

Detail of Woman Preparing Bread and Butter for a Boy (1663) by Pieter de Hooch

Here are a couple vids:


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