Tuesday, January 29, 2008

The Girl with the Red Hat

Johannes Vermeer
Girl with the Red Hat, c. 1665/1666
Andrew W. Melon Collection

Funny, the things that we remember....

I was very fortunate to be in D.C. for the 1995 Johannes Vermeer show at The National Gallery of Art. I was performing in Arlington and Occaquan, Virginia, staying with my cousin Kate and her family in Alexandria. I was so enthused approaching the exhibit room and remember the pale gold cast to the lighting and general color, and a couple of guards standing off to one side, chatting.

The first painting I came to was the Girl with the Red Hat and, as I stopped to look at it, all I could see was the cockroach making its way up the side edge of the frame. To this day, I can't believe it, but I swear that it's true. I figured that I couldn't touch the frame, so I called over one of the guards who looked, said something like, "Uh-huh", and nodded his head. I could sort of tell that he wasn't going to move the cockroach himself or maybe do anything about it at all. I shrugged my shoulders and proceeded.

Needless to say, it was a perfect exhibit of perfect paintings but what I remember most was the cockroach and every time I've seen this painting since, you know what I remember.

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