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Art Explained: The World's Greatest Paintings Explored and by Robert Cumming

By Robert Cumming

Taking an unique photographic method of glance intimately at definite issues, those 4 interesting books offer deeper knowing and richer delight in the worlds of structure, artwork, recognized artists, and myths and legends. writer BIO: Robert Cumming has been the chairman of Christie's schooling, London, studied paintings background at Cambridge collage, and his books have received numerous foreign awards and contain Just glance, simply Imagine, and Looking into Paintings.

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The economy of the corpus – a maximum at present of 36 known works – recommends itself to those who would encompass a total career achievement. Furthermore in Vermeer’s work, unlike that of Rembrandt, there is little classical mythology or overt religion. Domesticity is preponderant, and this has a complex ideological appeal. 70 The perceived homogeneity of Vermeer’s oeuvre also contributes to the mystique with which he and his works are imbued. Although that perceived homogeneity dissipates when one begins to attend with care to the paintings, there is an important sense in which the total achievement seems none the less greater than the sum of its constituent parts.

The same convention can be seen in what is probably a portrait historié in literary guise by an unidentified Dutch artist, dated 1673 (illus. 16). 5 × 54 cm. Gemäldegalerie Alte Meister, Kassel. 35 In one Dutch stage version Cupid himself leads the Spaniard to the girl,36 and in the painting Cupid can be seen between the gazing lovers. In any such instance the gaze is crucial. These stories and conceits, and the role of Cupid with his arrows within them, all appeal to contemporary 55 15 Pieter Serwouters, ‘Ce deux sont un’, from the marriage commemoration book of Jacob Abrahamsz.

Love is scampering to her within her head. Undoubtedly he is on his way to bring her some love letter. 2 Most subsequent writers have followed suit, though not always proposing simple or coy explanations. For Lawrence Gowing this woman (and others) only had anything to do with love in so far as she represented the artist addressing his own fear of woman as a threat in part erotically defined. 3 For Gowing the woman embodies those principles with which the painter finally brings himself face to face after a career of oblique approaches that began with the Dresden Woman Reading a Letter by an Open Window.

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