ARTYFACTS: Vermeer - Mauritshuis in the Hague

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Vermeer - Mauritshuis in the Hague

The Mauritshuis is an outstanding gallery. A calm town house with some of the greatest paintings in the world, notably Vermeers and Rembrandts. I like these townhouse galleries like the Soames and Wallace collections in London. maybe it's the human scale and context.

There are only three Vermeer's here but two are masterpeices.

rl with a Pearl Earring
His famou
s yellow blue and white palette works to perfection here, against a dark background. She turns, she parts her lips and she gazes into your eyes. The pearl hangs there, a sign of chastity, but this painting seems far from chaste.

View of Delft

This could
be the greatest painting of a townscape in existence. Every level in this painting works, the triangle of orange sand, the river, the boats, the walls, the foreground buildings and the Neuwe Church lit by the sun (political point) in the background and a cloudy but sunny sky.

My favourite five were:
Portrait of an elderly man - real inner thoughts revealed - he's bored and wants to get back to the tavern
The laughing man
Self-portrait - brushwork remarkably loose - an honest painting
The anatomy lesson of Dr Nicolaes Tulp - strange group- no one is listening - neither were the group of tourists when the guide was revealing its secrets
'Tronie' of a man with a feathered beret - fun

Dutch nazis
After the gallery we went for a beer in the square outside and witnessed the police chasing, what turned out to be an unusual crowd, of chanting hoodlums. They were Dutch nazis - all skinheads and doc martins. In any case they settled down for a civilised beer after a few minutes - they were Dutch after all.


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