The 360º Project | A Woman, Vermeer and Celebration of Light at 8º

Vermeer's Milkmaid  and the Celebration of Light

A friend introduced me to Vermeer a few years back.

We had just met and, had this flurry of emails between us, characteristically so when imagination runs wild and you tend to make up a bunch of possibilities about the future. Of course, I still think she is what she is – a very complete woman. No, we are not getting into an argument about it!

For sure, nothing materialized in terms of romance. But we did progress into an exchange of ideas that can be, at best, termed as sublime and surreal. The conversations slanted into another dimension – one that was built of all the good things you can gather from this world and then willed to form a world unlike any – a place where nothing is wrong or out of place. For a while, between two points in time, everything seemed to have come to a standstill.

Until then, I had been partial to chiaroscuro, a sub-school of Baroque painting that plays with sharp contrasts of light and darkness. I was never prepared to go beyond Caravaggio. When she spoke of how Vermeer excited her in a primal manner, I took a second concentrated look at his work. Of his works, the Milkmaid (seen above in the picture taken by me) grabbed me with its intensity and sheer genius.

I downloaded a high-res file of the painting, laser-printed it on canvas, and got a fancy wooden frame for it – the whole exercise not costing me even 500 bucks. It hangs on the wall of my bookshelf, and I can see it even if I am in my bed. The painting is a celebration of light – how understanding its play can bring about a feel of roundness in something depicted on a two-dimensional flat canvas.

Every time I look at it, I am caught between two points in time; where everything seems to have come to a standstill.

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