An inspiration for this meeting came from Proust' In Search of Lost Time which we are reading with another group. M Swann - aesthete and connoisseur, falls in love with Odette and finds himself unable to finish an essay on Vermeer he was writing. It is in honor of M Swann and his inability to complete his work that I would like to spend an afternoon looking at Vermeer.
Vermeer is a grand Dutch painter, master of light and ordinary scenes like reading letters, putting on necklaces, or pouring milk. He specialized in capturing domestic scenes, apparently of no consequence yet imbued with a mysterious and poetic ambiance. He is also a pioneer user of the camera obscura - a primitive type camera. Vermeer was quite poor most of his life, he was forgotten after his death and interest in him resurfaced only in the 19th century. Girl with the Pearl Earring is arguably his most famous painting in our time.
* Vermeers' View of Delft was responsible for motivating Proust to leave his bed in 1921 and visit the gallery to see the masterpiece in person. He went with a friend and remained dizzy and unsteady throughout the afternoon. He saw both the Delft painting and the Girl with Pearl Earring. Proust passed away next year. The Vermeer exhibit was his last excursion into society.
below - Girl Reading A Letter,[masked] by Vermeer