The Big Question: What is a Home?

What is the difference between a house and a home?

We looked at different art works and decided wether they looked homely or not.

For example, Johannes Vermeer, The Little Street, c 1657-61.

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The Little Street, Johannes Vermeer, c 1957- 61

The shutters on  window suggest a private space, like a family would live there. There are four figures in the painting, two adults who are separate, and two children who seem to be a pair. The realistic brickwork suggests the house really existed in Delft, however, the proportions are very odd as the house looks flat, the wall next the window looks to thin to hold the wall together in this way. The shutter on the left bottom looks like it would open out into the doorway. I think the house did exist, however, Vermeer changed the proportions. I think the building looks very run down, it looks old, scratched and grotty. For a household who has servants (the adults in the painting), I wouldn’t imagine the house to be so run down.

Jan Steen, The Mayor of Delft and his Daughter, 1655, is another painting explored in the lecture.

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The Mayor of Delft and His Daughter, 1655, Jan Steen

The mayor and daughter look down on the begger and her son. The begger comes to the mayor asking for money. The mayors daughter looks very independent and stares out at the viewer, she stands on the paving slabs which shows she’s still on the mayors property. Houses’ had paving slabs outside to show that was still your property, the road starts where the cobles start. The begger and her son are respectful. This could suggest that even though the mayor and begger are completely different classes, the begger brought her son up to be as respectful as the mayors daughter.

Both Johannes Vermeer and Jan Steen paint scenes from Delft. The two paintings contrast in meaning, Vermeer paints Delft for what it is, old and run down in areas. Steen paint Delft to be a nice place where it is kept in good condition and the poor people can go up and be friendly with the mayor. It’s almost like two different places are being shown. GScreen Shot 2017-01-13 at 15.57.06.png

The last artist we looked at was Pieter de Hooch. ‘A Courtyard in Delft’, 1658, shows a woman stood looking out. As a viewer, it is difficult to understand if she is looking out onto the street or if she is standing guard. There is also a woman and child on the right of the painting.

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A Courtyard in Delft, 1658, Pieter de Hooch

Pieter de Hooch work shows the depth of the house, interiors and outside. For example, The Bedroom, 1658- 60, and Boy Bringing Bread, 1663.

The last painting I looked at was, Mother Lacing Her Bodice Beside a Cradle, 1661- 63, Pieter de Hooch.

Mother Lacing Her Bodice Beside a Cradle, 1661-63, Pieter de Hooch

There is a little girl in the background, as a viewer, I get the feeling she is about to walk out of the house. She’s innocent and the outside is enticing, but dangerous. The mother is not fully dressed, she is not ready for danger to happen. It’s almost like she is neglecting her daughter. Hooch shows the interiors of this house but leaves the outside a mystery, further implying the little girl is mysterious about the outside.




Author: emiliasfineartblog

BA (Hons) Fine Art Student studying at Cardiff Metropolitan University

One thought on “The Big Question: What is a Home?”

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