Human Connections in the Age of Vermeer
Arthur K. Wheelock, Daniëlle H.A.C. Lokin
- Published to coincide with the exhibition ‘Communication: Visualizing the Human Connection in the Age of Vermeer’
This book focuses on the many forms of communication that existed in seventeenth-century Dutch society between family members, lovers, and professional acquaintances, both present and absent. The forty-four carefully selected Dutch genre paintings include major works by many of the finest masters of the period, including Johannes Vermeer, Pieter de Hooch, Gerard ter Borch, and Gabriel Metsu. Vermeer’s three masterpieces about love letters form the core of the exhibition, for they are profound examples of the power of communication. Dutch artists of the seventeenth century portrayed the wide range of emotions elicited by the various forms of communication, not only in the manner in which they render gestures and facial expressions of personal interactions, but also in the ways in which they show men and women responding to the written word. The painters often introduced objects from daily life that had symbolic implications, among them musical instruments, to enrich the pictorial narratives of their scenes. Published in conjunction with the exhibition Communication: Visualizing the Human Connection in the Age of Vermeer (2011 – 2012), which celebrates the 400th anniversary of the diplomatic exchanges between Japan and the Netherlands, this book connects the pictorial and the literary aspects of Dutch cultural traditions during the Golden Age.
Arthur K. Wheelock, Jr. is the curator of Northern Baroque Paintings at the National Gallery of Art. He is also a professor of Art History at the University of Maryland. Wheelock has written extensively on Vermeer and his contemporaries, including the exhibition catalogue Johannes Vermeer (1995). Daniëlle H.A.C. Lokin is the former director of the Stedelijk Museum het Prinsenhof, Delft, and is the senior consultant at BMC Groep, Amersfoort. Ms. Lokin has published widely on seventeenth-century Dutch art, including Delft Masters: Vermeer’s Contemporaries (1996).