Saturday, October 13, 2012

My Favorite Paintings in Mauritshuis, Den Haag, Netherlands

In recent years, the main fine art museum in the Dutch capital city of Den Haag, gained additional renown for one of its particular painting - The Young Girl with Turban, a.k.a. Girl with a pearl earring, by Johannes Vermeer.

The Young Girl with Turban (Girl with a pearl earring)
c. 1665, 44.5 x 39 cm, Johannes Vermeer

This painting, portraying a very young girl at the threshold of womanhood, half-turning her head and gazed at the viewers, in a state of irresolute, hesitating, seductive and seduced, inviting and withdrawing simultaneously.  Her large eyes and half-open ripe lips betrayed passion underneath her alabaster pale skin.  A huge pearl, hanging from her half-hidden ear, echoing those soulful eyes, with a highlight too bright to stare at.  Adding exoticism to the painting was her blue and yellow turban, which completely concealed her hair and that made her appear bald and chaste; yet as if to negate such impression, part of the turban cascaded down her shoulder, therefore gave her a coquettish flair.

Furthermore, what was so remarkable about this painting were Vermeer's fresh colors, virtuoso technique and subtle rendering of light effects, such as the small highlights on the turban and the pearl, which was painted with economical brushstrokes, mainly a bright highlight at upper left and the soft reflection of the white collar below.

As reported in my previous entry, Paintings As Pivotal Elements, this painting and its imagined inception, was detailed in a lively novel Tracy Chevalier and an ensuring movie The Girl with a Pearl Earring.  The novel and the movie were so overwhelmingly popular that even the collector of this painting, Mauritshuis, was presumably forced to change its title to The Girl with a Pearl Earring.

After the subtle and sophisticated sensuality, I appreciated simplicity and charming innocence in Carel Fabritius's The Goldfinch below.

The goldfinch period ca. 1654, Oil on Panel, 33.5 x 22.8 cm
Carel Fabritius (bapt. 1622 - 1654)

Fabritius died young, in the explosion of the Delft powder magazine – a disaster which destroyed a large part of the city, and left a known body of work of only fifteen.  He painted this small panel of goldfinch, a kind of birds had long been popular as house pet and been taught to perform tricks, as a trompe-l'œil (deception of the eye), to be hung above the viewers, and aided by the metal perch, to trick the viewer to believe that they were seeing a real bird perching above, playing his own trick on us.

This bird was full of necessary details and remarkable vitality, though broadly painted and without fastidiousness which could have rendered such subject a zoology illustration.  A perhaps slight work but a whimsical and delightful one.

My Favorite Museum Collection Series

>> My Favorite Museum Collection Series 55: My Favorite Paintings in Prince William V Gallery, Den Haag 
<< My Favorite Museum Collection Series 53: My Favorite Paintings at Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen Rotterdam

List of My Favorite Artworks in the Museums I've Visited

Related posts on Art · 文化 · Kunst:
- Last Call - "The Girl With A Pearl Earring" in De Young Museum, San Francisco
- "Compliments to Vermeer" - Controversial Solo Exhibition of the Renowned Chinese Painter JIN Shangyi
- Paintings As Pivotal Elements
- Last Chance to See Terracotta Warriors in San Francisco Asian Art Museum
- Birth of Impressionism at De Young Museum, San Francisco
- Venetian Masterpieces from Vienna at De Young Museum
- My Favorite Works at De Young Museum, San Francisco
- My Favorite De Young Museum Collections

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