Johannes Vermeer 1632-1675 by most standards is one of the most beloved painters of the Dutch Golden Age along with Frans Hals and Rembrandt. Unless of course you are Francis Bacon, the English painter who once said,
"Everybody like Vermeer, except me. He doesn't mean anything, he has no significance."
What is known is that he was born in the province of Holland in a city called Delft. Why he decided to pursue painting is still unknown. His earliest works emulated the style of the Italian painter Caravaggio but he quickly developed his own signature style.
What sets his work apart is his depictions of relatively normal middle-class daily life and scenes which bring with them a sense of accessibility.
He created a relatively small body of work and didn't achieve the notoriety until after his death. It's generally accepted that there 36 or so paintings that can be attributed to him.
Around 1657-1659, one of the more popular pieces he created was an oil on canvas called "A Girl Reading A Letter By An Open Window."
A hallmark of Vermeer Is the use of a window shown in the scene on the left-hand side as well as the use of yellow as a color in the costumes or attire. The painting tells the story of a blonde maiden reading a letter and includes other color elements of red and green to frame and lead the eye.
While it's unknown the context of the letter she is reading research has shown through x-ray technology at one point he included a Cupid and later painted over it.
This symbolism suggests that the content may be a love letter and a desire to leave her home.
In this homage, I was inspired by the message of the original painting and looked for ways to create my own interpretation. Elements that I retained to make it quickly recognizable are the window light coming from the left as well as the use of a beautiful blonde woman wearing time-period appropriate clothing featuring yellow.
I chose not to use the framing element of the fabric on the right-hand side and introduced a secondary subject to play the role of the young lady's father.
As a father, I want to show my children and grandchildren that we don't have to go through life alone. Whether the content of the letter is good or bad, that we all have a Father. The chest contains letters inside showing that we have a sacred place we keep things that are important to us in life.
Her hand up to her heart shows the emotional impact and personal closeness of what she's reading. The Father's gentle hand on her shoulder expresses the tender nature of a father for his daughter.
I chose to place the candles in the scene to suggest the transition point where day becomes evening and provide a perspective of time of day. I placed Delft tiles known for their blue and white signature traits on the floor in honor of the speculation that Vermeer's father was a painter in their hometown industry. It is suspected that he would paint the tiles before they were fired in the kiln.
Perhaps that could explain why no one knows who Vermeer's Master Painter influence was. Maybe it's his father.
Models featured in this portrait are Mike Hanline Owner of White House Custom Color who exemplifies to me kindness and love for his family. He seeks the best in the people around him.
Kaitlyn York plays the role of the young daughter who is currently engaged and epitomizes this duality of still being part of her family while on the cusp of starting her own.
Hair and make-up provided by the wonderful Mayra Rams-Sanabria & Sonia Trevino.
Location: InterContinental Dallas.1/20; f/11.0; ISO 200; 50.0 mm.
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