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The Guitar Player
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mwilson's picture

Contributor

Technically The Guitar Player is a masterpiece.

It was painted towards the end of Vermeer’s career when he was starting to throw the middle finger and tell the art world of the 17th century that he’s going to do what he wants.

Vermeer creates a small space for the subject and cuts off her elbow, making the space feel intimate, which it would have been in the 17th century. Music was the 17th century language of romance, it was a comfort, and it was a form of meditation that brought people together. It was classy, it showed talent (but not too much talent, you don’t want to be too fancy), and it was a way to keep women entertained since instruments were considered toys for adult women.

A month after Vermeer died, this painting was used to pay off his debt to the local master baker and from there it went to Kenwood House museum and that’s when things get really interesting.

In 1974, Kenwood House was broken into and the thieves went straight for the Vermeer. Scotland Yard was at a loss, but a young woman from a gypsy family had a lead. Nella Jones had a vision while watching a news story about the stolen works. In the vision, she saw the painting hidden in a graveyard behind Kenwood House. The police weren’t totally sold on their psychic informant, but she was the only lead that they had, so they took her and followed up on her story.

All that they turned up was the broken alarm box from the back of the painting’s frame. Nella said that the painting was in the catacombs under the graveyard, but neither the bobbies nor Nella were eager to dig around in a bunch of bodies. Though they didn’t find the painting that night, Scotland Yard did end up getting an anonymous tip that told them the painting was in a graveyard and, sure enough, when they showed up it was there waiting for them!

So a psychic helped solve the case! Who saw that coming?

Sources

Sources

  1. Rachel Johnston, "Review: The Art of Music," Apollo: The International Art Magazine, September 1, 2013.
  2. Ann Mette Heindorff, "The Guitar Player," Vermeer Guitarplayer large, 2007, , accessed October 01, 2017, http://heindorffhus.motivsamler.dk/arthistory/frame-VermeerGuitarplayer-....
  3. Jade King, "The Vermeer that links a psychic, a stately home and the IRA," The Vermeer that links a psychic, a stately home and the IRA | Art UK, August 23, 2016, , accessed October 01, 2017, https://artuk.org/discover/stories/the-vermeer-that-links-a-psy

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Here is what Wikipedia says about The Guitar Player (Vermeer)

The Guitar Player is an oil painting by Dutch Baroque artist Johannes Vermeer (1632 - 1675), dated c. 1672. This work of art is one of Vermeer's final artistic activities, providing insight into the techniques he mastered and approaches to painting he favored. The painting has been on display at Kenwood House, London since the 1920s, as part of the Iveagh Bequest collection. After being recovered from a theft in 1974, when the painting was held for ransom, The Guitar Player was returned to Kenwood House.

Check out the full Wikipedia article about The Guitar Player (Vermeer).