Friday, 19 December 2008

Another good reason to work from home

This is the view from my front door. Unfortunately you can't see the wind - there was a pile of snow on the inside of my door thanks to the wind. This is supposedly the first of two storms destined to hit Toronto before Christmas, with a second is forecast for Sunday. So it looks like I'll be celebrating my birthday indoors. Luckily for me I have food, and wine in the house so I don't have to go out in the storm. Plus I have the perfect excuse to stay inside, in front of the fire and read,Vermeers Hat, The Seventeenth Century and the Dawn of the Global World by Timothy Brook. This book is a fascinating look at world trade via the paintings of Vermeer.
The first painting discussed is Vermeer's View of Delft, which I have in postcard form pinned to the wall behind my desk. Even as a postcard it is exquisite and I have discovered that this work stands out in his oeuvre as only one of two surviving paintings of outdoor scenes, and the only one where he attempted to paint a large space. Vermeer usually stayed indoors, whatever the weather, and painted carefully staged interiors with people.
Vermeer's paintings are windows that Brook looks through to explain what was going on in the world at this time. I have not only learnt how to look at the paintings more carefully but also how goods, like beaver pelts, tobacco, silver, spices and people moved through the world, from one corner to another in the seventeenth century. Many people talk about globalization as a modern development but this book proves it is much, much older.


Sally said...

It it certainly not cold here in Melbourne. 34C today and fine forcast for Xmas Day.
The book you are reading sounds really interesting, I look forward to it being released here in Australia. Have a great Xmas Day!

Athenaeus said...

Sounds like a fascinating book. My sympathies on the weather. We took a 40 degree drop in the last two days and it's been a challenge to adapt so quickly.

Jennifer said...

I'd like some of that warm Australian weather, it is -11C this morning. They predict it is going to warm up to 6C for Christmas eve but along with that they forecast ice pelts then rain. So that will make for a very sloppy Christmas day.

littlejake said...

Don't feel bad. This year Vancouver broke all kind of weather records.

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