“The Love Letter”

Jan Vermeer, "The Love Letter" 1669. Oil on canvas.
Jan Vermeer, “The Love Letter” 1669. Oil on canvas.


This work, seems innocent enough at first, a young woman is delivered a love letter, and our point of view is a bit secretive. The heavy damask curtains. The incredible detail Vermeer achieves from such a distance was achieved by the use of a camera obscura – an early device the uses reflective mirrors so artists could see far away images close up (and yes, this technology was later used in early photography and is the basis for the camera as we know it.) Sometimes parts of Vermeer’s paintings are slightly blurred in the fine details – think of an out of focus photo. It is also full of symbolism: especially symbols of erotic love, and you can see it by the slightly embarrassed look on our lovers face, and the smirk in that of the maids. Vermeer is a master of color and light, while his images feel crisp but soft and homey all at once. (Originally posted to Instagram on December 4, 2012)


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