Johannes Vermeer died nearly 350 years ago, but his work continues to evoke inspiration and passion. Shot largely in New York (home to a third of the world's Vermeer paintings), the film also travels to Holland, France, London and Washington, introducing us to artists, writers and photographers whose lives and work have been touched by the painter from Delft.
Vermeer has long been admired for the sense of peacefulness that infuses his work. Dutch photographer Erwin Olaf says what he has learned about portraiture from Vermeer is that "nothing really happens." One woman reads a letter. Another pours milk. Both their actions are captured in a moment of stillness. "A life is being lived in those paintings—a small moment," says photographer Joel Meyerowitz. "That small moment is where Vermeer and photography meet."
The film highlights artists whose work is directly inspired by Vermeer, and others for whom the connection to the old master is less direct, yet no less vital. One of the more striking sequences in the film juxtaposes the work of Girl with a Pearl Earring novelist Tracy Chevalier with that of Steve McCurry—the photographer who shot the famous Afghan girl photo that appeared on the cover of National Geographic. For Chevalier, the Vermeer painting on which she based the book was not simply a portrait; it captured a moment in a relationship. McCurry compares the Afghan girl—seeing a western male for the first time—to the girl with the pearl earring. Each demonstrates a moment when "the mundane becomes magical."
This film is part of a series in collaboration with the Strand Theatre in Rockland presented monthly on first Fridays focusing on artists and the visual arts, with a brief discussion following the film.
Location: The Strand Theatre, Rockland
Seating: limited to 350 people
Cost: $7 members, $8.50 nonmembers
Reservations: tickets for sale only at the Strand box office prior to film