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Visual & Performing Arts
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Research and Decribe the Dress and Vermeer's Paintings (Essay Sample)


Discuss the major themes evident in the following publication:
Ginkel, I., & Jonker, M. (n.d.). Vermeer Studies: The Interpretation of Dress in Vermeer's Paintings. London: Yale University Press.


Dress and Vermeer's Paintings
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Dress and Vermeer's Paintings
The article authored by Ginkel and Jonker focuses on the dress code that Dutch artists depicted in their works during the seventeenth century. The various themes identified in the article are discussed in this paper.
The theme of symbolism is one of the major themes discussed by Ginkel and Jonker in their article. It has been argued that the type of dress artists in the seventeenth century chose to depict depended on the message they wanted to relay. However, the author insists that for the case of Johannes Vermeer’s painting, it is challenging to interpret the meaning of costume depicted. Historians have also identified dresses as a useful parameter for dating art meaning that they can associate specific dress code to a specific time. It should be realized that the interpretation process basing on the dress codes of people depicted in a painting is dependent on a personal understanding of clothing. Therefore, different historians are likely to give different interpretations. For instance, in Vermeer’s art known as A Woman Asleep, the woman’s garment, bears a meaning. The fashionable dress code has been linked to drunkards and negligence. According to Ginkel and Jonker, the contrast of this situation would depict a woman wearing a simple dress that may include coarse stitches and an apron and a red petticoat. The silk jacket and earrings depicted in the painting A Woman Asleep was an illustration of the criticism against servants during the seventeenth century. It is believed that such classy dresses were linked to laziness to the point that a law was established to prevent servants from adopting such expensive dress codes in 1861.
Luxury is another theme that has been discussed in the paper authored by Ginkel and Jonker. According to the authors, luxury was not to be considered whenever the roles and behavior of servants were in question. Servants were expected to avoid luxury at all cost as this prevented them from exhibiting efficiency at work. In the article, luxury has not only been linked to behavior but also the mode of dressing of people. A Woman Asleep who is believed to be a servant has an expensive dress, yet she is a servant, which is considered as a luxury at work. For many years, drinking of alcohol h...
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