The author, Susan Vreeland, has graciously agreed to join this group, in a limited way, when we begin on May 1. We ask everyone to please read all the information on Ms. Vreeland's website to avoid repetition.
"Intelligent, searching, and unusual... . Like the painting it describes so well, [the novel] has a way of lingering in the reader's mind." ——The New York Times Book Review
Lorrie, my goodness (I'm blushing but with a big smile on my face).
Thanks so much to all who commented about my computer art.
Jan Vermeer, dead at the age of 43, has been called the "Sphinx of Delft" (I have to do a search of that to see if there is anything more). It was 200 years before his art was recognized with fewer than 40 works known and no one knows how many paintings, if any, he sold during his lifetime. Almost all of Vermeer's paintings show the same rooms in his house, same furniture and decorations in various arrangements and often portrayed the same people, mostly women. He seemed to paint for himself only, not for the market place - in fact it's said he shunned it. I read where the painting "The Concert" (still missing) is valued at around 200 - 300 million dollars.
OK Allie, Allie in Free to All observers.
I do believe the painting in the book is as real as any Vermeer could be......I know I will always be looking for it. Wouldn't you just love to go to a museum one day and see it hanging on the wall.
I have one hand-painted dish (of roses) that was my great-grandmother's....it is so beautiful it takes my breath away. Not having any daughters or granddaughters in my family I don't know what will happen to it when I'm gone. Maybe I'll live long enough to have a great-granddaughter
EmmaBarb, The Rose is my favorite flower I sure would like to see your dish.
Hats, I agree it does not matter if it is a Vermeers as it is what the Painting means to the owner. I could not find the artist that did my paintings yet. One is signed by Antonio the other is signed by Claude Terray.They are pictures of shores.
I will read the next chapter today as tommorw is the 7th so we can didcussion them then. I am looking forward to it.
"To me, it proves that a work of art is like a "living" creation. a painting can speak to us and help us handle life during a crisis or during some other unexpected event in our lives."
Hats, I have noticed that We have so much in comman.
It does matter that the painting was a Vermeer -- it made me go back and take another look at his lovely works of art and appreciate them all over again.
Now I have to say the last two chapters were my favorite.
I do not want to take away from the Beautifull Vermeers works as I am just stating that Beauty is in the heart of the beholder and what we will do to protect them. My dishes are painted as I can tell by those that have lost there shine so to speak and feel the paint from England from 1912 which is a thrill for me.
We have came to the discussion of "Girl in Hyacinth Blue" Book to discus this particular work of Art and I shall do so and hope all others will also. I was just so excited to find the cups and saucers I could Not help myself, Please forgive me All of you.
Your S/N Extended family member, Ginger
I cannot wait for the Next two chapter to talk about them but I will while chomping at the bit. Smile.
In response to your question in # 168 let me say that I have not yet finished reading our book, "Girl in Hyacinth Blue", but I did read "Girl in a Pearl Earring". Our live afternoon AAUW book group chose it two years ago, and a memorable discussion it was: We reached depths we had not anticipated, even though we should have, what with an artist in our midst who came fully prepared, believe me!
Please let me mention the commonalities first:
Both books enlightened the public in this country about Vermeer, both were based on admirable research. Both are fictional constructions, both were a deserved literary success.
Here is the difference I see, and - mind you - this is just my personal subjective view:
Girl in Hyacinth Blue focuses on one painting which may or may not be a Vermeer and how the lives of successive owners (even in reverse order) were affected.
Are the owners' lives then the ultimate focus ?
Girl in a Pearl Earring (fictionally) reconstructs the artist, the era, the town of Delft, the social and (importantly) the religious developments (Protestants gaining the upper hand over Catholics), and is based on one acknowledged, indeed famous Vermeer painting, which graced the cover of Smithonian Magazine at the time of the Vermeer exhibit in this country, AND it puts forward the audacious assumption of who the model of the girl in the earring might have been.
It is my humble opinion that the two novels complement each other, and I sincerely believe that a follow-up reading of Chevalier's book as a voluntary individual effort would be logical and enriching our present reading experience.
Nor is this an unusual phenomenon, really. Just think of the English presence in the former colonies, and other more recent examples.
The hanky-panky reminded me of our just completed Madame Bovary discussion. I didn't mention it there, but I once overheard my French aunt (with whom my mother was bitterly at odds) saying :
Faute de mieux, on couche avec sa femme , loosely translated "If there isn't anything better around, one sleeps with one's wife."
Of course I never breathed a word to my mother, and I didn't "get" the cynicism of that remark until much later.
"It begins with a pulsing bass note like the heartbeat of a man expectant of fulfillment and then swells to fullness as the higher voices join in."
"The first movement, molte allegro was a sprightly melody--tra-la-la, tra-la-la, tra-la-la-la, it went, and his hands flitting about cast a spell on me. Hardly able to breathe in the sudden heat, I batted the air with my fan."
The author has given us extraordinarily vivid impressions into the nature of her characters, not all of whom are likable: I found Laurens in Adagia rather self-involved and insensitive to Digna's feelings-- before he had the change of heart. Demonstrably, some men can be like that.
LORRIE, I totally agree. The lyrical descriptions of the flooded landscape and the painting itself are wonderful.
When I was little, we spent a few summers in Scheveningen, a seaside resort. My mother disliked the steady wind blowing in from the North Sea and watched from the safety of her large wicker beach chair. I am trying to find an illustration somewhere.
the taciturn man, a realist, who invests his entire life in growing his potato crop despite the setbacks and hardships created by the periodically recurring floods;
and the dreamy wife who loved him but is not altogether of the same cloth, shall we say.
Note how the events decribed in The Papers of ... dovetail with those in Morningshine, and compare the realities of Jantje's birth with Saskia's artfully constructed assumptions and Stijn's more sober speculations.
The devastating force of nature, the flood water breaking through the dikes, the shoulder-to-shoulder vigil by the men till morning when the tide changes, are described in heart-breaking detail.
"Work is love made plain, whether man's or woman's work, and you're a fool if you don't recognize it. The child's the blessing, Saskia, not the painting." p. 150.
I've often wondered why they hang some of the pictures they do in hospital rooms and nursing homes. When my mom was in the hospital (5 surgeries in all), one time I got permission to change the picture that hung at the foot of her bed to one more pleasant and more to mom's liking. I'd found some lilacs down the hall and she actually brightened up after I changed it.
I must tell you I'm reading "The Passion of Artemisia" and recommend it highly.
"... she did not yet know that lives end abruptly, that much of living is repetition and separation, that buttons forever need resewing no matter how ferociously one works the thread, that nice things almost happen (pp. 239/240)" ... (emphasis mine). What a perfect articulation of our travails in every walk of life !
Lorrie, it's late now and I'll sketch the story of the Ludwigs tomorrow, as you requested.
Then war came.
I don't know what happened to Louise's drawing; she had married and moved away. My drawing was damaged during the bombing of our house and eventually repaired. I brought it with me when we came to these shores. It hangs in my office. When I look at that young face I always wonder why the girl in the drawing looks so sad.
After the war I returned to the city for a visit and asked about the Ludwigs. He was well known regionally, I was told. He had remarried not long after Margarete's death, for the sake of Julia, people said. His new wife was Margarete's younger sister.