Benjamin Binstock: 7 paintings of Vermeer belong to the brush of his daughter Automatic translate
In the new book by art critic Benjamin Binstock, “Vermeer’s Family Secrets”, there are two curious thoughts. The first is taken from Nietzsche’s quote: “We have learned to love everything that we now love.”
The second is that we cannot recognize the picture as it is, just by looking at it. The study of works of art, the work of various artists is a difficult work in itself. In addition to the fact that such work requires extensive diverse knowledge, it always attracts the attention of the press, scientists, critics, etc.
Now imagine that the artist’s family, his wife, children, the maid are his models. Father works at home. Art is changing and developing, like its models - they are growing, relations between them are changing. Over time, one of his models, his child, picks up a brush and becomes an assistant to his father, and then his student.
The student is limited, literally and figuratively, he imitates the works of his father - the same interior, scenes, the same pigments, the same canvases. The student is trying to imitate the master. This, in turn, inspires the master himself. So they work - together, with the same models, in the same studio, in the same family.
According to Binstock, this was precisely the situation in the Vermeer family.
Scientists for a long time could not come up with a coherent history of the development of Vermeer’s work. This was facilitated by the fact that no more than 30 of his paintings were preserved in the world. Some of them are completely out of the general row. They depict the same characters in the same scenes and in the same clothes. They are made from the same paints using the same basic materials and methods. But they look different. They lack the technical volume, compositional understanding, energy - which is not typical for Vermeer.
Binstock is not alone in his opinion. Seven paintings have long attracted the attention of experts. But the new theory explains well not only the differences in these canvases, but also the similarities in them. According to the scientist, the seven paintings attributed to Vermeer actually belong to the brush of his daughter, Mary.
Firstly, during Vermeer’s time, there was no requirement that children be registered as students. Secondly, girls and women could not do painting, and after marriage, a woman had to abandon this occupation. Therefore, there is no continuation of her work outside her father’s studio. Finally, the Vermeer family often paid the bills with his paintings. In the literal sense, they exchanged them for food. Vermeer’s widow may have intentionally sold several of Mary’s works in this way to pay off her debts.
From this point of view, Mary, and to some extent Vermeer himself, were involved in this falsification. It was in the interests of the whole family to keep Mary’s discipleship secret. Just as they kept secret some other things, for example, the family’s illegal commitment to the Catholic faith.
Modern scholars often taunt a “romantic” approach to art, preferring to rely on detailed biographical data. In the end, when the work is good, it does not require a romantic background. That’s right. But, according to Binstock, not in this case.
Binstock does not justify Vermeer by explaining why he has “bad” pictures. Pictures of Mary - if these are her paintings, on the contrary, are very good. They are genuine artistic responses to her father’s work. Her apprenticeship was very brief, but it is truly an extraordinary event in the history of art.
If Binstock is right, then the seven paintings recognized as belonging to the brush of Jan Vermeer, sold at auctions for millions of dollars, were not painted with his hand at all. Which, of course, does not mean that these are not Vermeer’s paintings. It’s just a picture of Maria Vermeer.
The question raised by Binstock is very delicate. The way the community will respond to its message will become known in the near future. In the meantime, millions of dollars potentially hang in the balance.
Book Vermeer ’s Family Secrets coming out in September this year (in English), Routledge publisher, pre-order is now available.
Anna Sidorova © Gallerix.ru
- The mystery of Vermeer’s "Little Street" is revealed
- Merchants and aristocrats in the paintings of Dutch masters
- The exhibition of Dutch masters in New York gathered a record number of visitors
- Vermeer’s secret revealed?
- Detroit Institute of the Arts offers a rare opportunity to see paintings by Jan Vermeer
- Die Ära von Rembrandt und Vermeer. Meisterwerke der Leidener Sammlung
- On May 17, as part of the Night at the Museum in the cinemas of Moscow, St. Petersburg, Novosibirsk and Voronezh, three documentaries will be shown about Vermeer, Munch and Mane