This week, we focused a lot on analyzing art, and how it can give us a window into literature.
One of the things that we talked about, and I feel is quite important, is the desire for humans to tell stories. Whether it is for entertainment or to explain something, we have been at it for hundreds and hundreds of years. By looking at a painting, for example, you can often get a deeper understanding, or at least a deeper appreciation, of the piece by looking into the story behind it.
One of the paintings we went over, Girl With A Pearl Earring, becomes a lot more interesting, and captivating, when we examine the story behind it. Because there is very little information about Vermeer and his paintings, it is up to the admirer to craft context for his works. This aspect of his art appeals to the storyteller in all of us, which is part of the reason so many people adore his work. By forcing people to invent a story for his paintings, they make it their own in a way, which is a very satisfying thing to do.
Of course, there are certain contextual aspects within his paintings. Referring back to Girl With A Pearl Earring, there are signals that it is in fact some kind of a sexual piece, judging by the way her mouth is slightly agape. However, I feel this only adds to the quality of story crafting folks can do around his painting. Who was she? How did they meet? Were they simply in a business relationship or, perhaps, was there something more there? The answers to these questions change by the individual, which is so neat.
I believe that what truly makes something a work of art is how much people can relate to it. If it speaks to no one, who cares? But, if a painting or sculpture can make the masses feel something, then, I think something amazing has taken place.