6/24/14 la lettre d'amour 38x38" / by Philip Tarlow

a new painting based on vermeer's la letter d'amour, which hangs in the rijksmuseum, in amsterdam. references to vermeer's painting can be seen in the slide show, third row, along with pieces of drawings based upon my plein air series and bits of calligraphy inspired by my favorite 11th c. chinese calligrapher huang tingjian. the slide show reveals the 6 stages this painting went through before reaching it's completed state.

i could have stopped at stage 1, but I didn't.

a reproduction of  la letter d'amour is on the right. vermeer seduces us by the brilliance of his composition; colors and enigmatic subject matter and makes us forget that, as david hockney once said to me, "it's all just marks on a surface, luv!" his well known use of the camera obscura optical device is part of what allows him to create this stunning sense of perspective. i have always loved looking at his brush marks up close, as one can only do in the presence of the actual painting. have a look at this detail of vermeer's allegory of faith on row 2. it perfectly illustrates what hockney meant with his "marks" comment. and what tsarouchis meant when he declared "all great art is abstract."  go to www.tsarouchis.gr for more about my former mentor/friend/teacher.

It looks like we'll be in amsterdam this fall, so we'll have the opportunity to spend time with this great painting, as well as to explore the newly renovated rijksmuseum.