Coincidences ?

March 6th, 2013

While it may be true that paintings are born more from painting than from one-to-one observation of nature, I wonder how frequently art historical connections don’t take into account that coincidences are inevitable.

For example, the mysterious shadow cast by the outlandish hats of Vermeer’s Girl with a Red Hat or Girl with a Flute may owe nothing to Rembrandt or followers. Big hats actually do cast shadows when light originates, as in the vast majority of natural circumstances, from above. See Savoldo’s Flute Player painted 150 years before Vermeer’s tronies.

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