The painted moment

[In ] Vermeer’s view of Delft across the canal . . . The painted moment has remained (almost) unchanged for three centuries. The reflections in the water have not moved. Yet this painted moment, as we look at it, has a plenitude and actuality that we experience only rarely in life. We experience everything we see in the painting as absolutely momentary. At the same time the experience is repeatable the next day or in ten years. It would be naïve to suppose that this has to do with accuracy: Delft at any given moment never looked like this painting. It has to do with the density per square millimetre of Vermeer’s looking, with the density per square millimetre of assembled moments.        John Berger The Sense of Sight

Vermeer-view-of-delft

Johannes Vermeer 1660–1661Oil on canvas

Dimensions 98.5 cm × 117.5 cm (38.8 in × 46.3 in)

Location Mauritshuis, The Hague

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