Monday, April 6, 2009

Project 2---Interpretation of the painting

Breif Introduction
A Love Letter is a painting finished between1667 and 1670 by the Dutch painter Jan Vermeer. It is oil on cavas, 17 3/8 x 15 1/8 in. (44 x, and is on display at Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam. Vermeer painted mostly domestic interior scenes. His works are largely genre pieces and portraits.

General content of this painting
A scene of this painting is a well-to-do woman is being handed a letter. She glances up questioningly at her maid and paused in her lute playing. Although the lady has not yet opened the letter it can be guessed that it is from her lover. The two pictures in the background indicate this.

Major objects:

1. Two paintings on the wall
A painting within a painting often indicates the artist’s intention in the picture. Here the painting is a seascape. In the 17th century language of imagery the sea stood for love and a ship for a lover. The ship in the picture may be associated with the emblematic motif of the suitor as a ship on the sea of love searching the safe harbour of his lady's arms. Moreover, as in the painting of the ship, there is the suggestion of a person on a journey. The able-bodied men earned their living from sea and Dutch painters and poets drew heavily from seafaring experience for their imagery.
The upper picture shows a lone wanderer walking along a sandy path. The wanderer may reflect the separation and desire for reunion between the elegant young mistress and her distant lover. In Dutch poetry and concept of romantic love, nature was depicted as a sympathetic witness of the lover's pains during his absence from the beloved.

2. Maid and Mistress
The theme of a maid and mistress was enormously popular among Dutch genre paiters. In this work, Vermeer depicts the moment the maid delivers a letter for her mistress. The wry smile on maid's face and the questioning expression of the mistress masterfully reveals the uncertain of love. Vermeer created a visual dialogue between them that conveys the intense psychological impact of the letter's arrival.

3. A letter can be seen as a spiritual connection of a lady and her lover. The lover is far from home but never far from her heart.
4. A lute symbolizes the harmony produced by love: when one lute is played, other nearby lutes resonate in sympathy.
5. The clothes hamper and darkblue lacemaking pillow that lie unattended may have been to indicate the anxieties of love which have kept the mistress from domestic responsbilities.

Other objects:
6. A curtain reveals another space in front of the bright room and enhance the illusion of depth. It is dark and may not have a window. It can be seen that a scene of domestic intimacy is revealed by pulling a curtain to one side. The curtain separates two rooms.
7. The light is going through from left side of the room for that lady playing the lute. And the space in front of it is darker, which indicates the space is more privacy.

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