Art and Life in Vermeer


Program Description:

While the greatness of Vermeer's work lies in the interplay of life and art, of daylight, paint, and the picture surface, the relationship changes fundamentally around the time he painted Girl with the Turban (subject of both a contemporary book and movie titled Girl with a Pearl Earring). Before this time life takes primacy over art; thereafter art assumes a higher reality, usually in the form of pictures within pictures. Examine a selection of Vermeer's work with an art historian. (Host provides slide projector and screen).


David Smith

If you are feeling remote from the 16th century, Thomas More (patron saint of lawyers) and artist Hans Holbein can reacquaint you. Renaissance portraits are, in effect, two-faced, in that the faces they present to the world are undercut by disguised alternative selves. Sometimes this doubling happens as a result of mixed messages in the image or persona the sitter presents. Sometimes, it involved another person in the same picture, often a spouse or friend, but occasionally one's jester or fool, whose job was to reverse the social order. Looking at Renaissance doubles may offer some insights into the contradictions our ancestors encountered as they played out different roles on the social stage. (Host provides two slide projectors and screen).

Other topics offered by David Smith