“Getting a letter,” Gerard Terborh – a description of the picture

“Getting a letter,” Gerard Terborh – a description of the picture
“Getting a letter,” Gerard Terborh - a description of the picture - 1

  • Posted by Gerard Terborh
  • Museum: Hermitage
  • Year: 1660s

Description of the picture :

Getting a letter is Gerard Terborh. Oil on canvas. 70 x 54 cm

   Gerard Terborh’s paintings are attracted by their classical simplicity, which, in general, was famous for the Dutch painters of the 16-17th centuries.

   Terborh achieved great skill in writing the life of wealthy families – calm and measured, characters – in the splendor of silk and in clothes made of thin cloth, interiors – modest or rich, immersed in half-frame.

   The painting “Getting a Letter” is an example of the elegant painting of the artist Terborh. At the first glance at the canvas – the same burger life and the feeling that nothing happens. But this is deceiving. It would seem like a simple plot, but it was built by a master with the subtle psychology inherent in Gerard Terborh.

   The center of the canvas is a figure of a girl near a carpeted table. She just received a letter. The girl is depicted with her back to the viewer, only a inclined neck and a high hairstyle laid in the latest fashion are visible. The background is the darkened corner of the room.

   The satin dress is striking in its luxury. Terborh brilliantly knows how to write overflows of shiny dresses, it makes it possible to “hear” his soft rustling and enjoy all the texture of the fabric, its creases and kinks.

   The second character is the postman in the background. Above him, a portrait of a man in a gilded frame. It can be assumed that it was from that man depicted in the portrait that the girl printed with such haste, without even waiting for the postman to leave.

   The game of light-tens is amazing, and, it would seem, a modest range of colors – gray, pearl, fucking. But it is they who create that elusive atmosphere of the whole composition, giving charm and recognition of the author’s work.

   As in almost all of Terborh’s works, there is some subtle connection, invisible threads between the characters, some kind of elusive and understatement, mystery and significance. And, perhaps, contemporaries are not given to learn the secret of the artist. But maybe that’s why, and not just for the technique of performance, the works of Gerard Terborh have been impressive for more than three centuries.