Vermeer’s hat

March 7th, 2009

If you feel comfortable with your knowledge of Vermeer, Canadian historian of China Timothy Brook provides a new  lens for examining the artist’s work from a different point of view: Vermeer’s Hat: The Seventeenth Century and the Dawn of the Global World (2007).

Here’s my interview with the author:

and very worthwhile podscast:

“For those who think they have mastered all the ins and outs of the seventeenth century Netherlands and particularly the country portrayed by the marvelously stay-at-home Dutch painters, Timothy Brook’s fine book provides a shock. By way of Vermeer’s pictures, he takes us through doorways into a suddenly wider universe, in which tobacco, slaves, spices, beaver pelts, China bowls, and South American silver are wrenching together hitherto well-insulated peoples. We hear behind the willow-pattern calm the crash of waves and cannon. A common humanity with a shared history comes about, with handshakes and treaties, shipwrecks and massacres, as trade expands and the world shrinks.”

Anthony Bailey, author of  Vermeer:  A View of Delft.

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