He who knows how to appreciate colour relationships, the influence of one colour on another, their contrasts and dissonances, is promised an infinitely diverse imagery.
- Sonia Delaunay
Colour is my day-long obsession, joy and torment.
- Colour is my day-long obsession, joy and torment.
 

 

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Eye Candy for Today: De Hooch courtyard

Posted by Charley Parker at 5:04 pm

A Musical Party in a Courtyard, Pieter de Hooch
A Musical Party in a Courtyard, Pieter de Hooch

In the National Gallery, London. Use the fullscreen and zoom controls to the right of the image.

Another of De Hooch’s wonderful explorations of space and light, into which we are irresistibly drawn.

Here, De Hooch invites us into a foreground space that, at first glance, appears to be an interior, but on closer inspection is revealed to be a table setting in a courtyard at dusk — at which revelers sit, softly lit by an unshown light source from the left.

From there we are invited, indeed urged, to walk through the courtyard doorway at right, past one of the guests who acts as our stand-in, out into another space — still brightly lit in the late day sun — where we can cross one of Amsterdam’s canals to another set of windows and doorways, open and inviting.

I love the way De Hooch has controlled his major areas of color and value, including the muted but beautifully colorful sky above the gate, the soft transition of light and shadow across the floor, and the fascinating addition of the single brightly colored orange on the table.

His depiction of the house beyond the canal and its occupants would make a wonderful composition in itself. How much more De Hooch delights us by leading us there through the foreground space.

8 comments for Eye Candy for Today: De Hooch courtyard »

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  1. Comment by David J Teter
    Friday, August 2, 2013 @ 7:18 am

    Wow! This one is a stunner.
    I am almost sure I have never seen this before, although I don’t know how I could have missed it over the years.

  2. Comment by Pyracantha
    Friday, August 2, 2013 @ 7:19 am

    Weren’t these scenes of elegant ladies entertaining, supposed to be taking place in a brothel?

  3. Comment by cparker
    Friday, August 2, 2013 @ 8:06 pm

    David, I hadn’t seen it until I found it looking through the National Gallery’s site.

  4. Comment by cparker
    Friday, August 2, 2013 @ 8:08 pm

    Pyracantha,

    Interesting notion — I don’t know. I know that his later works done in Amsterdam, like this one, were focused more on upper class society than his earlier works done in Delft.

  5. Comment by Ælle
    Saturday, August 3, 2013 @ 9:36 am

    Museo Thyssen-Bornemista, at Palacio de Villahermosa, 8 Paseo del Prado,
    Madrid, in Spain features Pieter Hendricksz. de Hooch’s Interior with Two Women and a Man Drinking and Eating Oysters (1681).
    http://www.museothyssen.org/en/thyssen/ficha_obra/1074
    The red apple on the table above symbolises what the two are up to.
    Good painting.

  6. Comment by cparker
    Saturday, August 3, 2013 @ 6:09 pm

    Thanks, Ælle.

  7. Comment by Susanne E.
    Sunday, August 4, 2013 @ 2:31 pm

    >Another of De Hooch’s wonderful explorations
    >of space and light, into which we are irresistibly drawn.

    That sums it up very well. De Hooch creates such intesting spaces with his tiled floors and windows and arched doorways opening unto a busy, sunny street, spaces that are beautiful but still intimate and homely.

    I saw a very cute De Hooch painting with a birdcage in the Wallraf-Richartz Museum in Cologne (Germany) last year. http://www.bildindex.de/obj05011148.html#|home

    Thanks for posting this!
    Susanne

  8. Comment by Stuart
    Tuesday, August 6, 2013 @ 8:51 am

    Amazing. The use of the light and the shading is excpetional. Really beautiful.

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