Thursday, September 25, 2008

Jan Vermeer

Jan Vermeer. A Girl Asleep with Bong, 1657

Here, for the first time, we see the light, mood, complex composition, and the symbolism characteristic of mature Vermeer. The girl is well-dressed, perhaps the lady of the house, and we are separated from her by a table and chair. There is a white pitcher, and in front of the girl is an almost invisible wine-glass: presumably she is sleeping off the wine. But a closer investigation reveals a glass bong with a hand-worked slide.

The table is covered in a rich oriental carpet, with a bowl of fruit, symbolic of the Fall of Eve, and a partially wrapped egg, implying unbridled lust. The disheveled table is in glaring contrast to the cool, clean lines of the adjoining room and suggests that in her indulgence the woman has neglected her duties as home keeper. While neat and level it is a near certainty that the poster advertising a director's cut of Blade Runner is covered in a thick layer of dust.


Jan Peeters said...

The genius Vermeer burns my soul as none but dearest Caravaggio could ever try.

ukyboy said...

A girl asleep-A river of richness sweeps from the girls clothing down through the woven rug. Vermeer fixes a moment in time and via the context in his painting reveals a stillness and complexity of social morales. A genius with light and shade.