I’m blog blocked, so I’ll just quote. Here’s Peter Schjeldahl’s description of Vermeer viewing at the Met from last week’s New Yorker (you may need a dictionary). Now this is a testament to the power of art (at least it is if you’re an art lover):
But a little patch of lapis-lazuli-tinted white, describing backlit linen in the head scarf of the Met’s “Young Woman with a Water Pitcher,” would have killed me a long time ago, if paint could. […] The entering sunlight sustains all manner of ravishing adventures, throughout the picture, but the incidental detail of the head scarf has affected me like a life-changing secret, whispered to me alone. I revel in it each time I see it – having misremembered it, of course, since the last time, helpless to retain the nuance of the color and the velleity of the painter’s touch. “Young Woman with a Water Pitcher” is a Sermon on the Mount of aesthetic value, in which the meek – or, at least, the humdrum, involving trifles of a prosperous but ordinary household, on an ordinary day – inherit the earth. Beholding it, I feel that my usual ways of looking are torpid to the point of dishonoring the world. At the same time, I know that my emotion is manipulated by deliberate artifice. An artist has contrived to lure me out of myself into an illusion of reality more fulfilling than any lived reality can be.