About: Another book revolving around the Dutch painter, Vermeer. This is a lovely, intimate novel with a surprisingly large, sweeping historical scope. It is, more than anything, the story of a single painting as seen through the eyes of its creator and subsequent owners. It jumps through time yet is seamless, never jarring.
Motivation: Jan Vermeer is one of my favourite painters. I was looking for a brief, well-written novel to read while on vacation.
Times Read: 1
Random Excerpt/Page 82: “Now, it’s not wise to be shocked. It makes one’s face blotchy and you don’t want that. I wouldn’t tell just anybody, because there are parts, there are parts-but since you asked for counsel in such matters, I will tell you. The truth, that I did not love the husband my father chose for me, I had concealed more carefully than a breast.”
About: Mid-way between a coffee table book and scholarly treatise, this small, slim volume is a surprisingly stunning study of the legendary Dutch master’s entire output (35 paintings). Norbert Schneider has serious chops as an art historian, yet manages to present technical details, sociological factors and biographical information in a straightforward and engaging manner. He takes you considerably deeper than ‘Girl witha Pearl Earring’. His beautifully nuanced precision is well worthy of Vermeer.
Motivation: I have wildly eclectic taste. Though my preferences twist and turn, slither and lurch to a thousand and one different places, doubling back before shooting off in another hundred seemingly random, sometimes contradictory directions, one thing is always indisputable: I like what I like. And I like Vermeer. In fact, I have an overall fondness for Dutch painting. A quick thumb-through of this lush little gem and I was sold.
Times Read: Countless
Random Excerpt/Page 36: ” A peeled lemon in ‘Woman and two men’ lies on a silver dish next to a jug which has been placed on a white cloth in an arrangement which is almost like a still life; the purpose if the lemon was to reduce the effect of love potions.”