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through the eyes of poverty

January 9, 2009

[NYTimes] But art changes all the time, according to what’s going on around it. Now I was looking at Dutch painting from inside an economic collapse, with a market on the rocks, and a Gilded Age revealed as fool’s gold. The art looked different.

I was particularly struck by how different the Rembrandts appeared, but then I always am. They’re like friends you’ve known for so long and so well that you figure there can’t be any surprises, but there are. They’re never quite the same twice.

I don’t experience this with Vermeer. The Vermeers I carry around in my head correspond pretty closely to those I re-encounter on the wall. Is it because each composition is so precisely resolved, each object so exactly placed, each figure so cleanly shaped that they fix themselves in the mind the way rhymed poetry or worked-out thoughts do? I don’t know, but with Rembrandt it’s not the same. (Read article…)

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