Sunday, December 10, 2006

The Little Street (after Vermeer)

This painting was on my easel on September 11, 2001...
Seems like just yesterday.

I used to work at FedEx in the WTC. There was a life-sized copy of Rodin's sculpture "The Gates Of Hell" on the 106th floor of tower 1 which I would see every day. Amongst all of the devastation and senseless loss of life on that day, I kept thinking how horrible it was to know that that piece of Art met such a violent and tragic end.

This is a copy I did of Vermeer's masterpiece entitled "The Little Street". I was reading Duane Keiser's process blog, and noticed that he mentioned this painting calling it" the greatest painting of bricks ever done."
http://keiserprocess.blogspot.com/

I happen to agree wholeheartedly with Duane on this. I was lucky enough to see this painting at the Metropolitan Museum in NYC a few years back during a once in a lifetime show of this great Master's work. I was able to view this painting without security guard interruption on at least 10 seperate occasions for at least 30 minutes per visit from a distance of about 6 inches away. I studied every brick, every pane of glass and every color combination in this piece, then when I was finished studying, I went home and painted it. It is to this day the only copy of another Artist's work that I have ever done. I learned more about painting from copying this piece than I think I learned in the previous 20 years of study.
One bittersweet side note to this story; this painting was on my easel on September 11, 2001.
At the time I had a beautiful studio which overlooked almost the whole skyline of Manhattan from the 16th floor of a high rise in Hackensack, NJ. I was sitting down to continue on with this Vermeer at the easel, when I looked out of my window and saw my life change forever. I did not touch this painting again for 2 long weeks. I just sat in my darkened studio and wept.
I finally did return to this painting and completed it with more vigor than ever. This painting will be linked to me for the rest of my life.

Thanks for looking. And thanks for making me think in new ways Duane.

I'll be back with another small daily painting for sale on eBay tomorrow night at 9:00 pm EST.

This Vermeer is on my website... www.markoberndorf.com

5 Comments:

Blogger René said...

Except for the people, this scene is quite timeless, maybe that's how thing should be, ..... or trying to be .... telling. Anyway a nice piece of work. I think this link will interest you:

http://www.xs4all.nl/~kalden/

3:58 PM  
Blogger René said...

Sorry, i searched a little longer and found this one:

The original, in large size (1311 x 1600 pixels)

http://www.rijksmuseum.nl/images/aria/sk/z/sk-a-2860.z

4:04 PM  
Blogger Luis Colan said...

Hi Mark, you were very lucky to have seen that show. The only Vermeers I've seen are the ones in the Met's permanent collection and the three hanging at the Frick. I always keep his work in mind, I'm always trying to capture his light and the way he would paint "air".

12:04 AM  
Blogger dave said...

I agree about the painting -- great thoughts and a very moving story behind it too.

4:29 PM  
Blogger DPH Eaton said...

There is a new novel about Vermeer’s early years as an apprentice called FAITH.

In April of 1653, Joannis Vermeer married Catharina Bolnes. He was twenty and she just twenty-one. The marriage had been opposed for numerous reasons: He was still an apprentice; He had no money; He came from a social class which was beneath hers and he was not a Catholic. Still, their marriage endured until his untimely death at the age of forty-three. FAITH is the story of three winter months before his marriage, the most important months of his life. It was a time when his ideas about art, technique and 'reality' were being formed, ideas that would be developed and reflected in all his later work. FAITH is also a love story, a 'probable' love story since nothing is known about the artist's life during this period. The people and events around him in this story are real. There is nothing in this book that could not have happened. Most of it must have.

P.S.: There is a great deal about painting bricks in the story.

Available at Lulu.com

5:05 PM  

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