Tuesday, April 27, 2010

ARCH1121 Project 2: Room and Narrative

For this project, I decided to use the painting Lady Writing A Letter With Her Maid by Vermeer, as inspiration.

I chose this painting for it's comparison and portrayal of the two women, the subject matter and the atmosphere created. One woman, the lady of the house, sits at the table, writing a letter in response to a letter or book that has been opened and pushed to the floor in a moment of drama. It is interesting to note that it appears that the scene has been captured just as the moment has occurred, otherwise it is likely that the maid would have retrieved the fallen objects in accordance with the Dutch tradition of cleanliness. While the light from the window falls on the lady writing the letter, it is the maids face that can be seen as she gazes at the window to her right. She stands in the middle of the painting, composed and statuesque, in contrast to the lady to the side of the painting, bent over her writing.

While the vanishing point of the objects in the painting and the light from the window leads to the lady at the desk, I found myself focusing on the maid in the center, staring into the space of the window. I found myself wondering what she was thinking, at the expression on her face, and her role in the household. It is perhaps because her expression was visible, that she was standing quiet and contemplating, that I could imagine more vividly scenarios and themes in accordance with her character. The words and narratives I developed revolve primarily around her rather than the mistress.

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