The reopening of the Frick Collection as Frick Madison at the Breuer Building
The last time I was at the Frick was over a year and another era ago. A members-only strings-serenaded champagne soiree held in the mansion's befountained Romanesque Garden Court.
Little could I have known then that this would be my last visit to this stalwart sumptuous sanctuary for in-the-know New Yorkers for years to come, both because of the soon-to-drop COVID pandemic and the museum's two-year closure for renovations.
The art starvation that began with lockdowns and closures of innumerable galleries throughout the city, was partially alleviated by the Frick's genius weekly Friday night YouTube series, “Cocktails With A Curator” , where we got to not only get up close and personal with Vermeer, Rembrandt, and Fragonard, but also, thanks to Zoom, the stellar world-class collection's curators: granularly informative Deputy Director Xavier F. Salomon with his wardrobe of elegant dressing gowns, and the vivacious and historically contextualizing Associate Curator Aimee Ng and an endless variety of creative cocktails, many of which necessitated liquor store treasure hunts to gather all the components.
When it was announced late last year that the collection was being moved to the recently vacated Breuer Madison building (former home of the Whitney Museum, and briefly, as an annex for the Metropolitan), I was, like nearly everyone of the museum's stans, both delighted and trepidatious. Along with the Morgan Library, the Frick is one of my escapist fantasy homes-away-from-home. Those familiar with the stark, minimalist, almost industrial look and feel of the Breuer questioned the appropriateness of moving works that we were so accustomed to
viewing in actual living wallpapered, carpeted, and chandeliered living quarters, amidst French Renaissance furnishings to what unkindly could be termed a warehouse.
Rather than the idiosyncratic arrangement of works in the late Gilded Age steel baron's manse, Frick Madison has placed them in galleries focused on specific regions and eras. The new dialog between the paintings, sculptures, and decorative arts places them in a more logical and informative manner. This new light also forces one to question their prior perceptions and even appreciations of certain works. Freed from busy backgrounds, the colors and textures really pop now.
Some beloved paintings now seem humbler in comparison with their new neighbors, who were perhaps slighted previously. Details emerge, like the weirdly elongated head, misaligned eyes and ears in El Greco's portrait of St. Jerome. The influence of the artist on Francis Bacon is now immediately apparent.
A religious painting that either I never saw before or passed by - forgive me father for I hate medieval Christian themes - struck me as amazing. In 'The Coronation of the Virgin' there is so much going on inside: a diadem of helter-skelter musicians, esoteric symbolism, obsessively intricate patterns.
One of the Frick's most recent acquisitions, a full-length life-size portrait by Gérard totally blew me away. Riffing on the title of one of the museum's recent publications, 'The Sleeve Should Be Illegal' - this painting should be illegal! The outrageously over-the-top attire of the subject, Prince Camillo Borghese, outdoes even Holbein's Cromwell for hyper-realistic fabric textures and jewelry iridescence.
The old context is more natural, if you like, as most of these were commissioned works, destined for the wall of a home or church, and this placement was very much in the artist's mind. We can think of this extended relocation as an airing out, like a visit to a spa. Being refreshed and renewed, how will the guests feel about their eventual re-acclimation? Will they experience the mixed feelings we all do on that last day of vacation, both missing the familiarity of home but feeling slightly depressed at having to give up the freedoms and delights experienced while away?
If there is but one gift that 2020 brought to our small spinning globe, it is a real understanding of the transient nature of life. We have stood witness as industry and commerce and worship and governance and every aspect of our daily existence stalled. Death came calling too. To date COVID-19, something we had never heard of a short year ago, has extinguished 1.97 million lives: from your…
Inside my copy of Ludwig Goldsheider's Phaidon Press Vermeer I wrote my name and the date of purchase, 1958. I was then fourteen years old. The battered volume is a record, therefore, of an attraction to this artist that stretches back to childhood. Not unnaturally I would like to find a way to acknowledge all that he has meant to me over the intervening years. I have no gift to write of his art like Lawrence Gowing - still less like Proust - but in any case my preference is to use connoisseurship to extend, if possible, our understanding of his oeuvre by seeing if there are viable addenda that can be appended to it; and that is the main purpose of this Study. A secondary aim is to draw attention to the dangers involved in 'cleaning' what we already have. By way of caveat I urge any readers I may have not to expect everything adduced to look like their idea of 'a Vermeer'. Connoisseurship has to allow for development. An early Cézanne does not look much like a late one.
To begin at the beginning of Vermeer's career as a painter is chronologically proper but somewhat frustrating because we know that he is farthest from where he needs to be and where we wish him to be. Through his and his father's picture-dealing he comes into contact with Italian paintings of a religious and mythological nature which encourage him to try his hand in a similar vein. What survives of this derivative, experimental period is the St Praxedis - his version of a composition by a Florentine artist Felice Ficherelli - and the Diana and her Companions.
St Praxedis by Ficherelli (left) and Vermeer’s copy (right)
Being by Vermeer, these are not bad pictures; indeed the St Praxedis is that rare thing, a copy better than its original. In both works there is a fluency of brushwork, a Baroque rhythm, and a palette that at this stage includes a yellow, a deep blue, a winey brown, and a rose red that, mixed with white, becomes a violet.
I can only suggest one work to add to this early phase of Vermeer's oeuvre and that is a picture of the head and shoulders of a rosy-cheeked girl.
Portrait of a Girl by De Bray (left) and detail of St Praxedis (right)
When it passed through the hands of a London dealer (Chaucer Fine Arts) in 1989 it was attributed, not very accurately, to Jan de Bray. The face is painted in a style hard to reconcile with any of the young female faces in later Vermeer, but it does seem close to that of St Praxedis and to the facial types in the Diana picture. Common to all of them are the rose-white-violet juxtaposition, the swirling drapery and soft sfumato.
Christ at the House of Mary and Martha (National Gallery Scotland)
With the large ‘Christ in the house of Mary and Martha’ at Edinburgh we may be moving backwards rather than forwards chronologically, but Vermeer seems recognizably more Vermeerish. He is still in his broad-brush Religion and Myth phase but the religion is as domesticated as it can be in that story of Mary and Martha, so one feels that he is moving towards the territory that he will make his own. Even in the earliest pictures it is noticeable how women predominate as we know that they will in the future. On the relative merits of Mary’s life and Martha’s, Vermeer's art is, and remains, tacitly neutral: it pays tribute to both. As if to illustrate this there is a study in watercolour for the figure of Mary, and a drawing that is not for the figure of Martha (being stylistically later) but certainly alludes to her servant role.
In the Printroom at Leipzig is a remarkable wash drawing which Bernhard Degenhart included in an anthology of European drawings (Europaisches Handzeichnungen) published at Dresden in 1943 as the work of the landscapist Jan Siberechts.
Drawing attributed to Siberechts (Leipzig) and detail of Martha
That attribution can be dismissed because there is nothing in Siberechts to support it beyond the flimsy fact of there being a landscape drawing on the verso. The little pen sketches of figures at the top and lower right of the sheet are by another artist; disregarding those, I think that there is a strong possibility that what we have here is a study by Vermeer for the figure of Mary in the Edinburgh picture; there the listening head is swivelled a little further round towards Christ. The light in consequence falls differently, but otherwise the similarities are close: there is the same profile with slightly parted lips, the same headcloth with the same striped pattern on it, and the same bright lighting from our left if we allow for the turn of her head.
It is the dramatic lighting, with maximum contrast in the folds of drapery and in the face too, not of Mary in the picture (now in shadow) but of Martha, that most accosts me. I notice as well the jugular vein in the neck of Christ. The wash is applied quickly but with complete assurance. The shadowed area of the face is conveyed in a manner that looks forward to the shadowed halves of the two heads in Washington, the Girl with a Red Hat and the Girl with a Flute.
Girl with a Red Hat (left) and Girl with a Flute (right) (National Gallery Washington)
The strange wavy border that the bright light creates on her cheek, from the near edge of her eye down to her chin is typical of Vermeer’s observation of light, how it produces form, without line, in the most surprising ways. In this respect the Leipzig drawing seems more advanced and prophetic of his future powers than the painting.
The Leipzig drawing, as we have seen, is scarcely a drawing in the linear sense at all, but at Besançon there is a sketch of a more conventional kind. In what becomes his favoured graphic medium - black chalk heightened with white on blue paper - it shows a servant holding a shallow circular basket or tray.
Woman with Tray signed ‘De Hoogh’ (De Hooch)
She is probably not a study for Martha, but one can see the folds of her sleeve following the pattern of light and shadow that is distinctive at Edinburgh in the sleeves of all three participants but more particularly on Christ’s outstretched arm. Her face has the signature oval shape and high-arched brows.
Portrait of a Lady (Royal Collection Windsor)
A third drawing may still be quite early but marks a change to something less loose, less generic, much more personal. This is in the Royal Collection at Windsor, a ‘Portrait of a Lady, Anonymous, Flemish school 91/2 x 7in, black chalk on white paper with red chalk for the flesh and the necklace of pearls’. The cataloguist comments that it is the ‘work of a follower of Rubens lacking peculiar characteristics’. If we stop thinking about Rubens, perhaps its characteristics will start to seem more peculiar, and peculiar, I suggest, to Vermeer. It is likely to be later in date than the Edinburgh picture, but the similarity of facial features if we compare the profile of this middle-aged woman with that of Christ is, for me, compelling.
Detail of Christ at the House of Mary and Martha (left) and Portrait of a Lady (right)
It cannot be proven but my hunch is that this tender portrait is of Catarina Bolnes, Vermeer’s wife, bearer of their many children, and also likely model for the painting at Amsterdam of the pregnant Woman in Blue reading a Letter.
Woman in Blue and detail of face (Rijksmuseum)
Placing her tête-a-tête with Christ and putting aside the double chin so truthfully recorded, notice the mouth, the cupid’s bow upper lip and projecting lower, the depth of the upper eyelid, and the straight nose that nevertheless marks where the bone ends and softness begins. As for ribbons and pearls, they are fashion accessories worn by women in the paintings of other Dutch artists, so their presence in this drawing can only be corroborative evidence; still, we know from later paintings by Vermeer how much he liked his family members to sit or stand for him wearing these adornments, particularly pearls because they represented drops of light.
Whether or not I am right about Catarina, this sensitive, fairly rapid sketch does demonstrate that Vermeer needed to make drawings of his models. The camera oscura was invaluable for helping to accurately determine how furniture and figures are disposed within a chosen perspective, but that tool does not solve everything and I always thought it probable that for the faces at least he would have made some preliminary studies in chalk or oil paint on paper, even if no such drawings survived. Fortunately, as already suggested, a few have, and this is a particularly beautiful example.
Portrait of a Young Man - Anonymous
At Rennes in France there is another close-up drawing, of a youngish man's face, his eyes directed down to our left as we look up. This is texturally very similar to the Windsor drawing, but it more particularly demonstrates three features found in the paintings. One is the drawing of the eyes, the almond shape of the eye itself, the broad strap of upper lid, and the elevated brow. This is famously clear in the Girl with a Pearl Earring at the Mauritshuis, but also in the Kenwood Girl with a Guitar, the Wrightsman Study of a Young Woman (Metropolitan Museum NY) and the two close-ups at Washington, Girl with a Red Hat and Girl with a Flute.
Details clockwise from top left: Girl with a Pearl Earring, Study of a Young Woman, Girl with a Guitar, Portrait of a Young Man, Girl with a Red Hat, Girl with a Flute
A second feature is the lips being parted, as in several of the works just cited. A third is the generous oval or elliptical shape of the face as a whole, which is the result of underplaying the chin and cheekbones.
Studienkopf - Study of a Boy’s Head, attributed to Vermeer
‘Oil paint on paper’ and the above remarks about oval faces are a cue to insert here a small study of a face in that medium that is in the Berlin Printroom. This has long been attributed to Vermeer, not by all but by many scholars from 1907 onwards. It bears all the signs of being by his hand and, besides being a fine and precious thing in itself, is a helpful link to other things. Notice, again, the shape of face that is different from what we find in other artists’ work, the mouth with its wavy upper and sensuous lower lip, a certain relationship and distance between eyebrow and eye, and of course the light that shapes everything. Whether this is an abandoned self-portrait no one can say for sure, but it could be. If one looks hard at oneself in a mirror, the eyes do narrow and squint a little, producing the fixed ‘tunnel’ gaze that this face returns to us so straightly and directly while giving, it must be said, nothing away (but what else would one expect of Vermeer?).
Singender Jüngling - no attribution
From Berlin to Vienna now, and from oil on paper to oil on oak: a small panel in the Kunsthistorisches Museum. This is of a young man singing (Singender Jüngling). The piece of paper he is holding does seem to be a sheet of music and as he is turned towards us with his mouth open he is probably singing, not talking to us about a letter. In any case what matters is that a living moment is caught in a turn of attention with a turn of the head, and thereby temporally and pictorially stopped for ever, as happens over and over in Vermeer. Is this picture by Vermeer? I offer it for consideration. If it is, it is not classic mature Vermeer, nor on the other hand is it very early. I would place it close to the Boston Concert (now sadly missing), the Frick ‘Girl Interrupted At Her Music’, the Metropolitan’s Servant Asleep. It is smaller than any of them, only 91/4 x 71/4 inches, the size, roughly, of the Louvre Lace Maker or the two Washington Girls.
The Concert (stolen)
Girl Interrupted at her Music (Frick)
Servant Asleep at a Table (Metropolitan Museum)
At this point the Berlin oil study on paper provides a helpful comparison: for the shape of the face and of the eyes, the form of the lips (albeit closed in Berlin) and for the lighting if one imagines the face at Vienna upright, not tilted, and facing us straight on.
Detail of Singender Jüngling (left) and Studienkopf (right)
As for the palette the wine-dark brown mantle over the Singing Boy’s right arm reminds us of the colours in the dress of the Sleeping Servant and of the companion of Diana who sponges her foot.
Details of Servant Asleep (top) Singender Jüngling (btm left) and Diana’s servant (btm right)
From surviving images of the Boston Concert, we can not be certain but it seems likely that boy's orange ‘beret’ may be comparable with the chairback of that missing artwork.
Orange beret from Singender Jüngling (left) Chair-back from The Concert (right)
Lighting here is from a source to our left, but Vermeer – if it is he - is not yet committed fully to daylight; the boy is lit within an ambient darkness, much as in a Caravaggio or any number of portraits. The other thing to notice is the way the boy is holding the paper with both hands. One might think that numerous Dutch pictures would show hands in a similar position, but it does not appear that this is so; it is, however, a gesture that recurs in Vermeer, in the Lady in Blue at Amsterdam, the Girl Interrupted at he Music in the Frick, in the Dresden Girl Reading a Letter at an Open Window and, we shall see, in another putative Vermeer.
Details from Singender Jüngling (top), Woman in Blue (left), Girl Reading a Letter at an Open Window (centre) and Girl Interrupted at her Music (right)
With the Vienna Singing Youth we are, as noted, not out of dark and into sunlight; we are by no visible window and the light has no sparkle. We are in an enclosed world like that of the tavern or the brothel, the venue of the Procuress at Dresden where what light there is, golden and silent amid the muted voices, seems to move surreptitiously, illuminating part of a collar, a bit of wall, a patch of rug before landing in a blaze on a yellow jacket, a scarlet jerkin, a binary echoed in the carpet.
Here is another large early work, disconcertingly different from what precedes and what follows it. The oil medium is drier here and carefully applied with no broad-brush bravura, no squiggles of highlight. Where in the future it is light that will seem liquid, poured into a room as into a tank, here it is shadow that spreads downward, drowning much of the left side of the picture, all but hiding faces, turning the folds of the carpet into dark ravines, and generally claiming the territory. Here is an artist revealing himself, for now, to be potentially as great a poet of shadow as he will be of light; one is readily reminded of Caravaggio’s Calling of Matthew in Rome.
Detail from The Procuress
If we are to find anything to accompany the Procuress in this possibly short-lived stage in Vermeer's development, it must exhibit that dry handling of paint that we see in the depiction of the woman and her client. Again what I offer is a suggestion appended to a sad admission in this case that I have no idea where the picture is. It is a portrait known to me only as an old photo placed among other portraits that have been attributed at some time or another to Velasquez. It is at any rate not by him. It once belonged to a Mr A. W. Leatham.
Portrait - attribution and whereabouts unknown
Here we clearly see, even in a photo, the dryness; but what lends credence to a Vermeer attribution is the face when one compares it with that of the Berlin oil study: within the same generous oval are the same eyebrows, nose and lips; the eyes in the Leatham picture are much more open but otherwise compatible. If this were to be Vermeer's it would be our only independent painted portrait - of whom we may never know.
Maidservant Warming Her Feet - attributed to Vermeer
In the volume referred to at the top of this essay, the 1958 Phaidon Vermeer by Ludwig Goldscheider, there is one drawing included among the main body of plates, a drawing therefore that Goldscheider clearly thought was definitely by Vermeer. It had been published once before, by H Leporini in 1925, but Goldscheider helpfully reproduces it in its actual size. He calls it Maidservant warming her Feet; the original is in the museum at Weimar. The monochrome reproduction gives one a good idea of the soft graininess of the black chalk finely hatched in strokes that run at right angles to the pose of the seated servant. What cannot be seen are the touches of red chalk added to neck and forearm (much as in the Windsor drawing) or the white heightening that in a photo looks deceptively like the white of the paper though the paper in reality is blue.
Why is this beautiful drawing omitted from subsequent books on Vermeer? Could it be that scholars are sceptical on account of the artist’s monogram V M drawn on the side on the footwarmer? One can agree that this is unusual, but that by itself should not be ground for exclusion; genius can be allowed some eccentricity, and anyway it is not too difficult to imagine that this very finished and presentable drawing was in fact presented to someone, possibly the model for it, and that the monogram was added as a mark of the special occasion or as a token of gratitude or to pay a debt. Nobody suggests that it is an outright fake from a later century, so it has to be of Vermeer's time and I question whether any contemporary could produce a drawing of this quality and of this kind - a drawing where form is defined so consistently by light. This is Vermeer's photographic vision, as it would be Seurat’s in a later age.
The Love Letter - Vermeer’s use of light is comparable to Maidservant Warming Her Feet
The sitter, besides: is surely the family's stalwart servant, Tanneke, the same who pours milk and delivers a letter (in two paintings) and maybe holds a jug as she opens a window.
Details from The Love Letter and Milkmaid for which Vermeer used his maid Tanneke as a model
The date of the drawing is anyone's guess, but it clearly belongs in the period of the great cameral pictures. Another drawing, of unknown whereabouts and less remarkable is of similar facture and shows a servant asleep.
Drawing of a Servant Asleep - unknown
View of Delft by Moonlight - attributed to Vermeer
Scepticism regarding the Weimar drawing seems to have led to doubting generally that any extant drawing is by Vermeer. This is a pity because there is much to be learned from his draughtsmanship. Take this drawing at Frankfurt, a supposed copy of the famous View of Delft from across the canal to the south of the town.
The Original ‘View of Delft’ by Vermeer
Why would a copyist take such liberties with what he is copying from? Why alter the arrangements of the buildings, omit barges, totally change the sky and foreground, remove figures and substitute fishermen in boats? He would be a remarkably inventive copyist who did all that! How much more likely that this is a drawing Vermeer made in situ on a day when there was a busy sky with rain-threatening cloud but with sun behind him that lit the south-facing walls, towers and spires of the town. The painting in the Mauritshuis, like a large ‘Academy’ Constable, is the outcome of onsite visits and studies all of which contributed to his decision-making, but none of which was exclusively determining.
It is very believable that a painter with Vermeer's temperament, seeking always a calm resolution, would not in the end choose a hectic cloudscape, would want to clear the foreground of weeds and bushes, would reject as picturesque a man in a boat who distracts attention from the town across the water, and would decide that the town could not cohere if too many surfaces were lit at the same time across the whole piece. Instead, as we can see in his final consummation, he creates a series of long horizontals from the left, lowers the red- tiled roofline, extends the town wall and the quay, and emphasises all of this with a long placid reflection in the water.
The gap in the reflections comes where the two southern gates of the town connect at the bridge, and that is where he chooses to have the sunlight begin to illumine, not the immediate edge of the town but the buildings beyond and within it; this illumination then continues, ducking and weaving, to the limit of the picture on our right. It can therefore be said to be an outdoor view with an interior, of the town, lit from the right, as only the Lacemaker is among his indoor pictures.
Something curious about the painting vis-a-vis the drawing is the effect created by clearing the foreground of everything except very small figures that lead our eye from a point directly under the reflected left tower of the Rotterdam Gate, across the deserted sandy back to the two women talking, and thence to the group waiting for the ferry at the far left. Vermeer has radically revised in a way that manages to make the town as a whole seem nearer than the foreground figures but as calm and reflective as any of his single figures in a room. At the same time he has concentrated the light in the right half of the picture and given it a warmth to match the pale ochreous emptiness of the foreground that starts from the left, dies towards the right.
Old reproductions of this extraordinary painting show that the cloudscape was perhaps once much more modelled and interesting than it now is. As too often happens, there has been a flattening, a loss of density and volume in clouds that Vermeer knew to have both.
Vermeer’s painting before (left) and after (right) cleaning
If the drawing is original, then it tells us that Vermeer was no different from Ruysdael, Jan van der Cappelle or any of his country's great skyscapists in his understanding that clouds have a superstructure and an undercarriage and as such constitute a sort of moving architecture as they build, dissolve, and build again - a match for earthly buildings shaped by light.
Painting of Maid and Child - attribution and location unknown
The same lesson may be learned from the last item I can offer which, like the Leatham portrait, I know only from a photograph. I do not know its whereabouts or even whether it exists. Coming across the photo lying among unattributed Dutch paintings was nevertheless a memorable moment because I connected the image at once with Vermeer, specifically with his family’s servant, Tanneke, she of The Milkmaid, sitting in her place in the kitchen with a letter held between her hands - in that now familiar position - as she turns aside to attend to a child with a bowl. It seemed clear that the original, of which this may be the only record, was unfinished, abandoned by the artist for whatever reason.
If the original was indeed by Vermeer, then it would be unique among his known works in being a composition with a child in it. Why are there no children in Vermeer's paintings? Did he exclude them because they were too excitable, would never stay still? Did he exclude the elderly because they reminded him of the nearness of death, the fate of too many children of his time, including some of his own? In this case a child does get included, but how securely? Did the artist have doubts? If he took the child out, it would leave the servant looking down to our right for no obvious reason. Her pose is towards our left but her attention is to our right. If the child stays, the chiasm demands something - a small window - in the upper left corner.
Such is the rationale of the image as a composition, but the photo also suggested something about the original’s texture and lighting, factors which go together. What I particularly noticed and was excited by were incipient signs of those lovely beads of light so uniquely characteristic of Vermeer's art.
Details of painting techniques in The Milkmaid (left) and The Glass of Wine (centre) which could be compared with the portrait of Maid and Child
I had supposed that they were last touches, yet the photo appears to make them part of the earlier planning of a picture, prefigured elements in his vision of a scene. If the original ever turned up, we could be satisfied about these technical mysteries.
For myself, I am not sure that I want or need to know how Vermeer painted his pictures; I am reasonably content to marvel at the mysteries and credit them to genius. However, in view of the damage, as I see it, done by conservators to some of the Vermeers that we have in our museums the above old photo from 1947, of a lost picture that passed through the hands of a dealer called Katz, is valuable evidence that from the start of a painting Vermeer knew that what he wanted to record was light, and that light falls in a logical way which creates, according to the time of day, profound areas of shadow that can abut the light with little or no gradation.
Above are two photos using natural light and shadow (left and right) Detail from Lady Writing a Letter with her Maid (centre)
This is most true on a sunny day in the morning, less true by early afternoon. The contrast, clearly visible in the photo, between the lit and shadowed side of a sleeve is extreme. We all know this because we all live in the age of photography, the age that began just before Vermeer started to be rediscovered. Unfortunately for his paintings - and certainly not only his - we also inherit the preoccupations of the twentieth century which to a large extent revolved around the picture plane and its flatness. Combine flatness with iconography, another leading concern, and you get a visual sensibility that finds the pattern on a carpet more important to clarify than the logic of the light which would keep it dark. Here are two photos to illustrate (in the original sense of the word) the contrast that must be respected.
I am not a conservator. Even the thought of surgical intervention in the surface of a Vermeer makes me nervous; but if intervention is ever necessary I think two rules must apply: always respect the logic of the light, and never, if you can help it, reveal the canvas or other support. Vermeer's art is one of illusion, a very poetic and light-sensitive version of trompe l'oeil. Expose the canvas and you destroy the illusion; a wall ceases to ‘be’ a wall and becomes what it mostly is in de Hooch, a bit of brushwork pushed around over a bit of stretched cloth.
In conclusion I hope it is clear that drawings and even old photos can tell us important things about the essential nature of an artist's vision, the imagination that shapes images, in Vermeer's case through light and light’s dark accomplice. Having opened this essay testifying to my own long admiration for the art of Vermeer, I can best end it on a similar note but in the context of Delft. A painter called Cornelis de Man lived there at the same time as Vermeer and painted some pictures of domestic interiors that are testimony to his own admiration for those of Vermeer, a fellow-townsman and Guild member whom he personally knew.
Still Life with Lute and a Jug - De Man
The picture of Vermeer that is now at Miami (and which was later engraved) is by this artist and very much in the Vermeer manner though crude and inferior by comparison.
Portrait of Vermeer by De Man (left) and engraving thereof (right)
Also by this artist is a far better and more finished picture at Polesden Lacy near Dorking.
The Game of Cards - De Man
It shows a middle-aged man facing a young woman over a table where they are playing cards. A young child to the right who stands hardly higher than the table on which one hand rests looks out of the picture to direct, perhaps, another child's attention to the grown-up’s game. The young woman looks round towards us as one might turn to a camera.
Details from De Man’s Portrait of Vermeer and The Game of Cards
Comparing the face of the man with that of the painter in the Miami picture, I think it very probable that we are looking at Vermeer himself relaxing opposite one of his daughters, with another of his many children beside him. The picture can stand in any case as a pleasant memorial to that genius of a ‘family man’, celebrant of town, home, kin and friends, who was happy to include those closest to him in what are still, despite the cleanings, some of the greatest of all representational paintings.
Curious, whether you are new or are long time residents, what Pittsburgh attraction keeps you coming back? Why? Which one have you not returning too? Why? Between the Pittsburgh Zoo & Aquarium to the Senator John Heinz History Center, even the Andy Warhol Museum, maybe Carnegie Museum of Natural History, Sri Venkateswara Temple, Schenley Park, Frick Park, Byham Theater, and so many many more. It is nice to have such a variety and diversity of attractions for the adventurers, theatrical, historians, educators, and etc. So which attraction attracts you???
@vonschweetz omg you KNOW the dynamic would change!
Like Blacksmith Pero isn’t normally the most... vocal about his affections
But when he and reader get married? That man is ecstatic!
Still sometimes cant believe you said yes and now you both are married?! Hell to the yes, Pero is here for this
Since neither of you really have a conflict of interest with neither of you overseeing the other the museum is totally okay with it too, because like you said it gives another layer of realism to museum visitors experiences when real life gets layered with the job
Literally they actually edit both of your “characters” to be married in the setting they have created as well with the gruff blacksmith falling for the sweet and often more chipper lady (only the patrons of the museum with the seasonal passes they use all the time know the fiction is very much based in reality)
For all Pero’s grumpy facade he for sure isnt shy about giving you sweet kiss on the cheek that leaves a soot stain he will laugh about before brushing it away for you
Any weird patrons of the museum who make crude comments about Pero and you that lean to the misogynistic side “because it’s hIsToRiCaL” just get the legendary glare from your husband (generally while he is holding something in the forge with the tongs not that he would hurt them.... probably... maybe)
But it is not at all a strange sight for your coworkers or museum goers to see you take your lunches over to the blacksmith’s shop so you can both eat together
That and the museums designer/photographer took a cute snapshot of you both walking back to your car in the evening still in costume
Pero smiling at you while she recount some of the hilarious questions one of the kids on your tour had been asking. That photo ended up being used on some of the summer promotional ads online and in the new brochure because everyone could just SEE how you both felt for each other and it was just so fricking sweet <3
Tikki, one of the workers for Marinette’s father, put the last bit of makeup on her face. Marinette sighed, she didn’t want to rob another museum. She just wanted her dad to be normal. She wanted her father before the psycho decided to take over. Even if that version of him was fake.
“You look gorgeous”
Her makeup was a heavy amount of blush, some eyeliner, blue and red eyeshadow; with the red extending out to the rest of her face. Her dad said she needed to have a suitable outfit as well, which was a red long sleeve shirt, that had black filler starting from her hands to her elbows. She had a small flowing skirt that went up to her knees, and her pants were black with 2 red stripes flowing down the side of her leg. Her hair was fancied in two buns and curled where it could be. It was simple, but also complex enough for the Joker.
“Which museum was it this time?”
“The one 5 blocks down from W.E. Your dad said he would meet you there as soon as the break out went as planned”
Marinette lived with Tikki, a woman in her early twenties, and beautiful red hair that was a buzz cut. She would take care of Mari and keep her out of the cops' way when the Joker found his way back to Arkham.
She was loaded up in a van with the rest of the Joker’s assistance and taken to where she would meet her father.
‘There's only 4 more years left until I can get out here. Dad can’t bother me in another country.’ she thought
“My little cupcake!!!”
She looked up to see him standing at the open ends of the van, with his usual purple outfit, arms open wide.
She pretended to perk up, and hugged him
“Cupcake! So dazzling to see you! Love your make up by the way! Wonder what genus came up with that!”
He started his horrendous laughter and Marinette had to stop herself from flinching.
“Well cupcake! Grab a bag and DIG IN! The museum is meant to be enjoyed, remember!”
Another laugh, she hated that sound. It was like nails scratching against a chalkboard.
Joker wanted her there for 2 reasons: 1)She was able to grab small things and avoid security systems. 2)He wanted another person working for him. Someone he didn’t have to pay. Someone who could take after him.
An alarm triggered before long, and everyone started hustling.
“ONLY A FEW MINUTES BEFORE BASTY SHOWS UP! GET READY UNLESS WE WANT TO STAY AND WATCH THE SHOW!”
Rushing back into the museum for another run, something striked Marinette and she crashed into the ground. “AGH”
She was almost positive she twisted her ankle, but she continued into the building. More money means a happier Joker. Happier Joker means less yelling.
She looked down at her leg, it was bleeding.
“What the heck?”
She limped her way to the next section of the museum. “I have time before the bats come. I’ll be fine.”
“Not to sure about that”
She heard three thumps behind her. ‘Shit, Shit, Shit’ She turned around, ‘Okay, Batman, Red hood, and Robin. Not the greatest group to get caught with, but it’s fine”
She pulled out a gun from the holder on her thigh,
“I don’t want to hurt you guys, so let me go”
“Come on pixie, you’re buddies left already. Give up.” Red hood stated
She lowered her guard down but not enough for Batman to cuff her without hurting anyone. Usually Joker’s leftover henchmen went down fast with a fight, but this one seemed to be holding back.
“Yeah, they left, we saw the van drive off a few minutes ago, got someone taking them down right now.”
He took a step closer, ‘She couldn’t be older than 15’
“Take another step, and I won’t be held responsible for my actions.”
“Alright pixie, I won’t come any closer”
He looked to his, Robin must’ve disappeared while he and Batman distracted her. ‘Guess we’re going with plan B. He has 2 minutes’
“What does a kid have to do with Joker anyway?”
She looked down and tightened her grip on the gun,
“He’s my dad”
“I’m not like him though. I don’t want to hurt anybody.”
Before either batman or Red hood could respond, Robin came in from the shadows and kicked her gun out her hand, with enough force that she fell to the ground.
Blood ran from her lips as she tried to stand up
She wrapped her legs around Robin’s and twisted, he collapsed to the ground
Marinette tried to scramble over and punch him, but Red hood grabbed her first, he held onto her wrists so she couldn’t get away
“LET ME GO!!”
“No can do Pixie”
He struggled against her violently shaking,
“Gotham street’s are not safe, nevertheless living with the Joker”
“I’M FINE WITH HIM!! LET ME GO!!”
She needed to lie to survive. Marinette thought being joker’s daughter was bad before, but now she’s gonna get kidnapped by vigilantes. ‘Great.’
He dragged her to the batmobile, but with marinette fighting back with every breath it was harder than imagined.
‘Come on Pixie, we- just- did you just try to bite me!?!- B she tried to BITE ME!!-”
‘Tt shut up todd.” Robin spoke while cuffing Marinette’s wrists together.
“Frick the both of you”
‘Even Pixie thinks you're annoying Demon swapn!”
All three piled into the batmobile; Red hood held a firm grip on Marinette’s shoulder so she would be able to cause any more damage.
“Where are you taking me?”
“Tt. Relax. Gotham’s foster system and police force is screwed over so we’re taking you back to the cave for questioning.’
‘“I want to go back home!”
“Speaking of home..where is that for you and the Joker?”
Marinette curled up on herself, she really hoped no one would have to ask her that
“I don’t technically live with my dad. He’s either hiding after he escaped from you guys, or in an arkham.’
Batman looked at her with sorrow. He’s dealt with the joker for a long time, but being the daughter of a psychopath, that's a whole other challenge.
“So do you just live on the streets?”
“No. I stay with one of my dad’s top workers. She and her boyfriend are good.”
Getting close to the batcave, Red Hood covered her eyes with his hand.
“Another eye I should know about?”
“I’m not mutated”
“Just making sure”
They pulled in and brought Marinette into the integration room.
“First off, is there anything we can call other than ‘pixie’”
Batman looked irritated and looked over at Jason, who stared back at him hardly.
“My name’s Marinette. But I go by Marie.”
“What can you tell us about the Joker’s next heist?”
Marinette smirked. Maybe the Jokers rein would end sooner that she thought with the bat boys help.
Every time I see this shot I feel like I’m losing my mind. This looks like it was shot in the lobby of the Breuer building-- the building that was the Whitney Museum, then the Met Breuer, and now I guess it’s the Frick? They didn’t actually film in there, did they?? Someone please put me out of my misery.
Before I started working here, It was the middle of the COVID-19 Pandemic, and I desperately wanna to help and probably able to use my Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) License to provide aide for anything I did some voluntary job for the City of Pico Rivera as an EMT to provide COVID-19 testing but it didn't make me feel like "Is it worth to risk my life for free?" because that time COVID-19 was a really dangerous back then, I decided to left and work for the State of California also known as California Health Corps (later merged to Cal-MAT or California Medical Assistance Team) I was part of the team for only a Month and deployed up to northern California to provide Testing and Aide for Emergency Rooms, my mental health wasn't able to handle the stress that time and the pay wasn't good enough so I decided to quit the job and look for a better opportunity and exactly 3 days later after I quit I got an email from the County of Los Angeles that they're urgently needed an EMT and they pay better than the State itself, so I quick applied and the H.R. itself Sheila, called me if I was able to work for Test site and I was "sure why not? And she said, "It's going to be on the San Gabriel Valley Airport", and that's where I found my second family.
I was nervous when I started working I went to Orientation I learned stuff how to provide tests for everyone, When I finally started working for them I was nervous about who am about to meet, and yet I met, J.C the supervisor of the testing site my first impression was he's probably one of those Fire Captain that very strict but he was not really that bad, he was cool and there I met, K.H, K.V, M.C, I was probably the reason why everyone started wearing Scrubs because during the group text from J.M I texted if we all allowed wearing Scrubs and he agreed, The first-day J.C told me to work with K.H which I never expect to be close with her till today, She's a really timid person since she literally wore like an I.T Support girl and thought me how to do some put some data and scan, etc, until my stupid ass started a conversation about where'd she went then she went to fricking UCLA (which I used to HATE that school so much when I used to play Dota 2 Competetively,) you know getting know to coworkers more better. Throughout working for the test site, we all starting to build up some Chemistry and become close to each other; the first one I'm close with is D.V he's a Firefighter (not actively) our sense of humour is so Firefighter, but I didn't like his idea of being very alpha-like showing me some Girls photo stuff like that, I was really offended when he told me if I'm gay, but really I'm not it's just I'm not into that. K.V was the first person I got close with to since we always work together back then 7 days a week straight like crazy.
I never thought to be more close with these people; these people I would consider my second family; these people are here for me and keeping an eye on each other no matter what; this story working with them is like Dunder Muffin, Jobs is kinda boring, but we all have fun working each other and it coming to an end. It's bittersweet that soon we will shut down Silverline; the pandemic is about to be gone. And we all able to provide service for the Community; we probably the best site in the whole County, we have probably the most diverse people. I will never forget this moment working with these people.
I will be reviewing these memorable coworkers or probably impressions of them.
J.C: An excellent supervisor, he continuously checks upon each EMT's helped me pass Fire Test and get ready for the Fire Service.
E.T: Typical ParaGOD Supervisor, I become close with him when we start having a conversation in Russian. He got a sense of humour like me; I would like to work with him soon as a supervisor. Pretty soon, he's going to be a Fire Medic.
K.V: She's earnest about everything; she's fun working with and hanging with. I would definitely go shopping with this person and talk about boys. She's now going to be a PA Soon; I'm really proud of her.
M.C: An serious person will always get the job done; it was sucks when he decided to move to another site and become a supervisor. I'm proud of him for being a supervisor; he really wanted to be a Deputy Sheriff. I'm hoping he's going to be the one because he's a good person.
K.H: She's a down earth person; I become close with her; she's probably the sister (but sometimes); her personality is bizarre and understandable when you asked about it; K.H always there when I'm down; I learned some lessons from her prolly some godsent shit, and a very nerd about Psychology (fricking nerd), I would definitely travel with her Europe (can't trust her if it's Asia cuz foods ya know.) or Bring her to Museum, Barnes and Nobles and most importantly Olive Garden, naw jk Some good cuisine places, she went with me for a ton of occasions, She aspiring to be Psychiatry Doctor for Peds, and worked her ass off to get into Med School, I'll be very proud if she gets in. love ya homie.
C.H: This girl is the most comedic person in the world; she's hilarious and very weird about everything; I really don't know why; she will do some random stuff, and it will make sense, I even really don't know how she manages to found my fricking Facebook (which I literally set it private), She's very caring about every person, She probably the reason why everyone is close to each other, I'm pretty sure I will see her on white coat someday. and call her Dr H
D.V: My boy, what the fuck? I mean, this guy is straight-up ghetto when you starting to know this person; the first time I met this guy, he was very professional and acted like a Rookie Firefighter, very polite and stuff until he met L.R. his vibe change, and he went to his authentic self, Cholo D. mode, He's really cool, Very determined about making money, and inspiring to be a Firefighter (specifically for Engine or Truck because he doesn't know he's medical skills)
L.R: She's a very cool girl; she's looking good as always, and a typical girl that you would see on Instagram looking marvellous; she's the first person that told me that I act like a woman like made me think, "Am I a woman?" She's aspiring to be a PA, and hoping she's be able to get a promising career and provide help for the community.
C.S: Girl!, she's basically my fricking twin, same goal, same idea, same about everything; we both wanted to be a Firefighter/Paramedic we both have useless degrees, We do care to each other, but sometimes we're weird about random stuff that we didn't even know how and why? We both shared our problems and give a fuck about everything. I would definitely work with her pretty soon for Fire Department and Drive a Squad Car or an Ambulance; girl, I can't wait to work with you soon and flying those squad cars; I love ya, buddy.
W.R: My boy, he made me a better person, he says some motivation stuff, and there ya go, he's also the reason that made my faith to Christianity (also K.H and A.M) he plays the guitar flawlessly, he gave me a pedal and suggested to get an electric guitar, we both wanna become a Firefighter/Paramedic and aiming to get into San Francisco Fire Dept. Brother, I love you, and God bless you.
A.M: I sometimes disagree with his opinions since I'm very progressive when it comes to politics, we both have the same Interest like History and Guns (yes guns) we both also have faith when it comes to religion, We sometimes share each other opinion but sometimes debate about it. he's aspiring to be a Police Officer, and hopefully he will do a better service for everyone. Keep up the hustle, brother.
R.C: I don't know; you seem cool.
A.B: She's a mom; she's a very calm person and very patient about everything going on. She taught me to keep up what I'm doing. Because she gave advice base on her experience.
B.C: This person is the next level of a talented and dedicated person; I remember exactly what happened during his first day of the job, we were out staffed and probably the worst first day of his life the reason is why he's very talented is he can dance like a World Of Dance next level kinda style, he mentioned that he used to want to be a Cop that's why he got a Criminal Justice Degree and changed his mind to become a Firefighter, but he got injured during the training now he's pretty soon becoming to be a PA, I really can't wait to see him in white coat and provide definitive care for everyone.
K.Y: He's the opposite version of D.V. he's more like a cool and sweet person; the first day he started working for the test site, he's wearing an EMT uniform, and we become a buddy for the whole day and bring him Asada Fries (because I enjoy giving out people) and we have some similar interest like we went to same Fire Academy and stuff, used to be a Tech Rescuer for Oil Refinery, now he's working with the Ambulance Company and aspiring to be a Firefighter for a significant city. Love ya no homo.
L.P: This person, is a typical Alpha male vibe you'll meet; he does some weird personality and calls you "daddy" at all the time; the good side is he does have a heart, he gave me some advice base on his experience of how deal with mental illness, he even encourages me to hang out with him and talk about it, he cares like a Dad would do, he just recently have a kid, and I'm sure that's he's going to be a remarkable dad, Now he's determined to be a Police Officer by doing some exercises and diets I'm delighted that there's a Police Officer like him pretty soon, Can't wait to work with ya in the streets.
E.C: The first time I met this guy, I thought I will really hate this guy, but in reality, he's one of the hard-working EMT on the test site (IMO). He will definitely do what gets the job done; I really like his personality of hating people who slacks, I also learned some stuff from him to stand up for yourself and don't make myself look like the punching bag. He's probably the first coworker who got positive in COVID-19, but he's alive and well.
J.L: This person is a powerful woman; I know this person been through a lot of stuff; I'm really proud of her for what she is now very motivated and confident about everything going on. She helped me going to bad stuff, Now she's going to finish her degree in master's, and I can't wait to have that title right next to her name "MPH" I will down crying being proud of her, Whatever happened, you never mess with this woman because she's a very fricking invaluable wonder woman—Love ya Jlo.
J.C: I never thought to know more about this person; I thought she's going to be like in the borderline of "coworker" she's a really dang gorgeous person and very clever, she usually drives me home and talk about how we've been doing. We both have common problems about stressing about life, I also have to give her credit for helping me through bad stuff, She's aspiring to be a Nurse with Masters on it. Can't wait to get yelled at by this woman soon.
G.L: Production EMT, I don't know really more about this guy except he's getting the job done and rarely shows up to work. But I'm sure he's going to be an excellent EMT in the future.
R.G: Brother of M.B. He's the one who consistently refuses to let me pay when he brings us foods. Still, I usually do my Hacking Skills just to pay him (not a big deal). I know he's been to bad stuff before (as in BAD things), and it's hard for him to acquire his RT license; pretty soon, he's going to get it and be a rich RT guy, I guess.
T.D: First time I met this guy is when SGV temporarily shut down because of the Bobcat Fire. K.V and I got Assigned to the Bellflower Testing Site that's where I met him; he was really like an ex-Army would act; he's cool; when he decided to get transferred to SGV he's the first day the squad was in Shock at how he acts, but he manages to adopt the attitude of the whole squad, he also helped me to go through the bad stuff and gave me some advice which is it didn't make me turn to an Alcoholic thanks, T.
F.R: I'm not going to lie I did a very Intensive Background check before he came to the site, But he came back very clean (I'm glad); he's probably one of the recent members of the squad, and he was able to get along with us, very Conservative guy, but I like him since like I said we have common things GUNS.
J.O: The first day working with her, I thought she's going to be one of the Female Firefighters vibes, but when the more time you spend with her, the more you guys get closed together, I know we have like 10 years of Age different but she acts like she's still her 20's, I thought she's also from the Military, but she just actually a Firefighter from East Coast and part of Search and Rescue Team that's why she's very fit, She nicknamed me "Burrito" on her first day because I can't stop talking about burritos, and I even called her "Taco" because she likes Tacos. Now she left the test site because of the "Incident" what happened between her and J.A. I'm hoping soon I'll be seeing her in some Special Operations Deployments, she was very upset about me tried to kill myself she like going nowhere yelling at me how my life is meaningful, we ended up playing video games religiously, I miss ya Burrito.
E.O: I usually don't like his idea of working here and being not proactive when he started working for the test site; a lot of people were commenting about his cockiness of "he knows what E.O doing", but that was him E.T already mentioned about his kind of attitude, but when I got back from Administration Leave, he was a different person (maybe because the number of patients starting to slow down?) he was like working well and would do anything. He always encourages me to go to Tijuana, Mexico because so I can lose my v-card, which very unnecessary and stupid; I literally told him about my Sexual Orientation and he just like "Dude, it's an experience." no, it's not because that's prostitution. And that's basically about him, a hardcore playboy or party master.
D.H: Peculiar guy, It was very challenging working with him in his early days working on the test site; he's one of the people I was trying to avoid until we became "close" because we talk about anime and stuff; he used to be in the Marine Corps, now he's an EMT who spend their time playing video games to avoid the stress, He mentioned about how video games helped him from getting stressed out. I'm delighted that he's starting to act well.
J.A: Met him before the Pandemic; I was the one who brought him here to the test site for the opportunity and earning well because he wasn't earning well working for an ambulance company; I met him during my EMT school; he was a kinda decent Student, He was trying his best, and he faced some challenges of taking the test, Now that he's working with me I'm glad that he's going to have much experience for him to be a firefighter.
J.B: A.M Helped him get in here and worked with us and earn some income because Ambulance Companies aren't really paying them well; I used to make fun of his Footwear because it was bizarre, As now by June, he's going to start his Medical School and going to be a Doctor Pretty soon, Good for him.
I work with these people for almost a year, but it felt like a decade for me, Soon we are going to be separated and focusing on our career, and Hopefully, we are going to have Reniunion (if I'm still alive cuz my suicide thought it's still there) and visit the fricking Parking Lot and give Tribute on it. I love you all, and God bless.