Sunday, April 11, 2004

Further thought on The Milkmaid

Earlier tonight, Susan and I spoke on the phone at some length about the two Vermeers I mentioned in the previous entry, specifically about their composition. I just wanted to add a couple of comments about The Milkmaid here.
I have always felt welcomed and included in the space of this painting, and I had said this was so because of the activity depicted.  Well, in part, Susan has helped me to see.  First of all, she made me notice that the table is angled in such a way that it points into the space of the painting and thus doesn't form a barrier between viewer and maid.  But second and more significant for me, she asked me where my eyes end up resting when I look at this painting.  It's the opening of the pitcher of milk: the thin white pouring of the milk contrasting with the round black orifice of the pitcher.  That black space creates a psychic entrance into the painting for me, one that is as inexhaustible as the stream of milk the Maid pours.

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