Thursday, May 14, 2009

Vermeer without the hat

If you happen to be in Vancouver on this sunny/partly cloudy morning, where there is fresh snow on the Lions and the air is all rain-washed and clear, you should make an effort to see the Vermeer-and-his-colleagues exhibit at the Vancouver Art Gallery. They knew something about rain-washed light too There's only one Vermeer in the exhibition, but the other guys deserve a look too. Along with the interior scenes and portraits, the exhibition makes another point by emphasizing marine paintings, trade items and other artworks that connect Dutch prosperity in the 17th century directly to international commerce.

The exhibition seems like a visual accompaniment to the themes of Vancouver historian Timothy Brook's book Vermeer's Hat -- Holland's rise to wealth, influence, and cultural glory under the impetus of international trade that was bringing the world together. And I'm off to talk to Tim Brook about that this morning.
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