Book Review - Vermeer's World by Irene Netta

Jan 15, 2008
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Book Review - Vermeer's World by Irene Netta

Vermeer's World by Irena Netta (Pegasus Library)




A review by NearertoGod

There are many books available on the market about Johannes Vermeer, the famous painter whose groundbreaking work, Girl with a Pearl Earring, has inspired thousands. Little is known about this elusive painter, who left no sketches, writings, self-portraits...only thirty five paintings in his oevure, all of which lead little traces to who he was, or what he was.

Irene Netta's book is small - 95 pages - but is richly illustrated and discussed. She does not talk or linger on subjects, and the reproductions are superb - crisp colors, bright, and smooth - without any fading or discoloring.

Looking past the popular misconceptions about Vermeer, Irena Netta's book is a beautiful, unbiased look at an artist who was very different from Dutch painters of his day. His paintings are simple, quiet, and sensual - they hold their grasp on you for the rest of your life. Even though Girl with a Pearl Earring is a beautiful work, we must remember that Vermeer painted more than just this work - he painted others which are great in their own right. And Netta's book does just that.
 
Jul 26, 2007
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Eastwood City
www.mcgi.org

Irene Netta's book is small - 95 pages - but is richly illustrated and discussed. She does not talk or linger on subjects, and the reproductions are superb - crisp colors, bright, and smooth - without any fading or discoloring.​
Speaking of discoloration, I've read from a website that the background was originally green.

It was ascertained that the background was originally meant to have a deep greenish tone which can no longer be perceived. Vermeer had glazed a very transparent layer of indigo mixed with weld over the dark black underpainting.
SOURCE: The Dark Background of the Girl with a Pearl Earring
The effect of the painting might be really different if the background was green. Anyway, what do you think?
 
Jan 15, 2008
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Yes, I do know that it has darkened down to a crummy blackish look.

Some books, however, have either a paleness to the look, or have yellowing. For example, the 'turban' on the girl's head is painted in two shades of ultramarine blue - light and dark. Ultramarine is a brilliant blue (made from crushed lapis), so this book was really the only one I know which showed that up. Others have a tendency to lack in coloration.

And, the girl's face. She has beautiful, smooth skin. Some of the other pictures I have seen are spotty or are not completely smooth. However, this book had that beautiful smoothness I was used to.

So, it all depends on the reproduction.

I believe it was Michelangelo or one of the older Italian painters that said - 'a dark background brings out the lightness of the subject'. Which is true. It enhances the subject and makes them appear lighter. As a painter myself I have seen what a dark background versus a light subject does.

Speaking of discoloration, I've read from a website that the background was originally green.



The effect of the painting might be really different if the background was green. Anyway, what do you think?
 
Jul 26, 2007
867
15
18
41
Eastwood City
www.mcgi.org
I believe it was Michelangelo or one of the older Italian painters that said - 'a dark background brings out the lightness of the subject'.
Da Vinci. Well, according to the website I've quoted earlier:

In fragment 232 of his Treatise on Painting, Leonardo da Vinci had noted that a dark background makes an object appear lighter and vice versa and Leonardo himself employed the device in some of his portraits.
And, the girl's face. She has beautiful, smooth skin.
But no eyebrows? Haha :smiley10: Didn't know they do that in the old days.
 
Jan 15, 2008
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Right. I knew it was someone Italian. :smiley10:

Da Vinci. Well, according to the website I've quoted earlier:



But no eyebrows? Haha :smiley10: Didn't know they do that in the old days.
Well, there are no obvious lines in her face - the only distinction is the light to darkness. If you look at her nose there are no lines in her nose either. No eyelashes either. Maybe Vermeer put some powder on her brows or shaved them. Lol.