Johannes Vermeer, The Little Street, ca 1657-1661, 21 3/8" x 17 3/8" oil on canvas
Oh Goodie!! A Vermeer painting Ciwt didn't know existed until today! And being (always) a homebody and (now) a city person, she was instantly taken by this naturalistic townscape. It is a slice of daily, domestic 17th century life in Delft so exquisitely rendered that it captures the poetic beauty of and reverence for everyday life throughout Holland. In its tidy, clean, unadorned simplicity, The Little Street is essentially a portrait of Holland.
In Vermeer's time, the virtuous Dutch home had risen to the level of sanctuary, the seat of the individual soul where all domestic and good citizenship values were modeled and passed on. Unlike European countries at the time, women's work was highly valued and so was the play of children. Sewing, like spinning was considered an attribute of Biblical origins, and cleanliness, washing and sweeping were associated with spiritual cleanliness and purity. So too the purity of children who were dressed plainly in frugal, hand-me-down clothes. All these values and thoughts - and so much more - are rendered easily, naturally and, to Ciwt, with such great love that Vermeer has quietly made his viewer an active participant in The Little Street's silent townscape narrative.
This spring, after 320 years, The Little Street will be reunited with the place where it was created. It will be in Museum Prinsenhof Delft from March 25 to July 17, 2016 in case you are planning a trip or live abroad.