02 May 2011

Girl with a Pearl Earring

Girl with a Pearl Earring, Johannes Vermeer, c.1665

One of the advantages of the internet is that you can listen to good radio from stations around the world. The Philippines is a wasteland as far as radio is concerned. The FM stations play bland, often tuneless music aimed at people under 35. The AM stations broadcast a diet of 'soaps' in the regional languages and local politicians and their spokesmen holding forth, shouting into the microphone as if they were addressing a crowd in the plaza.

Another advantage is that you can usually listen to programmes anytime during the week after they are broadcast or, in some cases, long after that. One of my favourites is Alan Titchmarsh with Melodies for You,  broadcast on Sunday nights on BBC Radio 2.

Last night he played a piece called Griet's Theme from Girl with the Pearl Earring. I've long been familiar with Vermeer's beautiful painting but didn't know until today that a movie had been made in 2003 with that title, based on a novel by Tracy Chevalier that was inspired by the painting. The music in the film is by Alexandre Desplat.

I took the painting from Web Gallery of Art. This is a quite amazing website that 'is a virtual museum and searchable database of European painting and sculpture from 11th to mid-19th centuries. It was started in 1996 as a topical site of the Renaissance art, originated in the Italian city-states of the 14th century and spread to other countries in the 15th and 16th centuries. Intending to present Renaissance art as comprehensively as possible, the scope of the collection was later extended to show its Medieval roots as well as its evolution to Baroque and Rococo via Mannerism. More recently the periods of Neoclassicism, Romanticism and Realism were also included'. It's where I get most of the paintings I use in Sunday Reflections.

The site has recordingd of music from the 12th to the 20th centuries, much of which you can include if you email any of the paintings in the form of a greeting.

Isn't Vermeer's painting utterly beautiful and alive?


Crux Fidelis said...

Of your charity please pray for the repose of the soul of the Right Reverend Monsignor Neil McGrory former Vicar General of the Diocese of Paisley and former administrator of St Mirin's Cathedral who died suddenly last night.

Euge serve bone.

Fr Seán Coyle said...

May Monsignor McGrory rest in peace after 58 years of faithful service as a priest.