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That's when I saw that painting, behind his head. All blues and yellows and reddish brown, as translucent as lacquer. It had to be a Dutch master. Just then a private found a little kid covered with tablecloths behind some dishes in a sideboard cabinet. We'd almost missed him.By the end of "Love Enough," this first of eight interrelated stories tracing the history of "Girl in Hyacinth Blue," the painting's fate at the hands of guilt-riddled Engelbrecht fils is in question. Unfortunately, there is no doubt about the probable destiny of the previous owners, the Vredenburg family of Rotterdam, who take center stage in the powerful "A Night Different From All Other Nights." Vreeland handles this tale with subtlety and restraint, setting it at Passover, the year before the looting, and choosing to focus on the adolescent Hannah Vredenburg's difficult passage into adulthood in the face of an uncertain future. In the next story, "Adagia," she moves even further into the past to sketch "how love builds itself unconsciously ... out of the momentous ordinary" in a tender portrait of a longtime marriage. Back and back Vreeland goes, back through other owners, other histories, to the very inception of the painting in the homely, everyday objects of the Vermeer household--a daughter's glass of milk, a son's shirt in need of buttons, a wife's beloved sewing basket--"the unacknowledged acts of women to hallow home." Girl in Hyacinth Blue ends with the painting's subject herself, Vermeer's daughter Magdalena, who first sends the portrait out into the world as payment for a family debt, then sees it again, years later at an auction.
She thought of all the people in all the paintings she had seen that day, not just Father's, in all the paintings of the world, in fact. Their eyes, the particular turn of a head, their loneliness or suffering or grief was borrowed by an artist to be seen by other people throughout the years who would never see them face to face. People who would be that close to her, she thought, a matter of a few arms' lengths, looking, looking, and they would never know her.In this final passage, Susan Vreeland might be describing her own masterpiece as well as Vermeer's. --Alix Wilber --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
The book felt pieced together until the end which flowed a little better.
She uses her words to paint eight very different stories about the people who have owned this painting throughout time and their struggles in life.
This is a beautifully written book that tells the story of a single painting by Dutch Master Vermeer.
Girl in Hyacinth Blue is a novel about a purportedly undiscovered Vermeer painting. The story, by Susan Vreeland, follows this painting—in a backward time sequence—from its... Read morePublished 3 days ago by W. J. TAYLOR
Interesting little book. The book is written from the viewpoint of the many people who had possession of the painting over the centuries since it was painted.Published 20 days ago by Joan Ryter
Easy, entertaining read, especially for those interested in art and art history. Great beach read.Published 1 month ago by Allison Jaynes
Fascinating story and study of the relationship of people to the earth they live on.Published 2 months ago by norelynn pion goureau
Each chapter being a complete story in itself and the author's unique style of beginning at the end and working backward to beginning was cleverly done. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Rebecca Shepherd