London Review of Books (LRB) – May 18, 2023 issue: The War in Khartoum, Vermeer’s Waywardness, Palestinians in Paraguay and Claire Hall on Anaximander.
Julian Bell at the Rijksmuseum
In London, I had taken A Young Woman Standing at a Virginal for a dependable rest point on strolls around the National Gallery. In Amsterdam, relocated to join 27 other Vermeers in the Rijksmuseum exhibition, its strangeness re-emerged. This canvas, executed towards the end of Vermeer’s relatively brief career (some four years, perhaps, before he died aged 43 in 1675), commits to a tactic he had earlier only toyed with: to set an internal picture as a wholly self-contained block within his own composition, uninterrupted by foreground forms.