Monday, September 3, 2007

Pearl earring and Andy Warhol

We were shopping for gifts to Mr. Awaara's friends in London, and finally bought cups with Jahannes Vermeer's painting in the market, "Girl with a pearl earring". Many might knew about the movie based on the story evolved from this famous painting. Jahannes Vermeer, the painter, was born and lived in Delft for his whole life time. This painting uses a pearl earring as a focal point, and is referred to as "the Mona Lisa of the North" or "the Dutch Mona Lisa". However, it is unclear whether or not this work was commissioned, and if so by whom. It is thought to be painted in 1665.

In the painting, a young woman, adorned in an unusual head wrap and wearing a prominent pearl-drop earring, turns to face the painter over her left shoulder—eyes sympathetic and slightly lowered, mouth demurely parted. The moment captured by the painting is captivating—sexually charged yet undeniably innocent.
(I copied this part of description from here. )

This painting inspired Tracy Chevalier's novel, Girl with a Pearl Earring. The novel both recognizes the painting's historic and artistic intensity and monopolizes on that intensity to create a fascinating story of a young girl in a small city during a unique period of time. Then it came the movie in 2003 directed by Peter Webber based on this novel. The movie has won quite a few awards for its cinematography. I watched the movie long time back, and never expected I could be one day come to live in the place where Vermeer lived before.

Another artist came into my attention is Andy Warhol, due to a program in BBC called 'Visionaries'. There was this debate on "which artist is more visionary, Andy Warhol or Leonardo da Vinci?" Visionary by definition,
means a clear, distinctive and specific (in some details) vision of the future. I would thus vote for Leonardo for his extraordinary visions 500 years ago. He is a man well beyond his time. On the other hand, Andy Warhol also brought my interest in exploring his photo silkscreen: transferring an image to film, then the film was burned onto a screen using a strong light. He is thought to be the leader of American pop art movement. I believe everyone have seen his famous painting of Marilyn Monroe, like the one I made using the painting of Vermeer's girl with a pearl earring. It took quite a while for me to get used to the Linux photo editing program, GIMP. I am glad it works, and I still have a lot more to explore.

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