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Reckoning on Lawrence Weschler's Vermeer in Bosnia - Essay Example

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Reckoning on Lawrence Weschler's Vermeer in Bosnia

The paintings of Vermeer in the Mauritshuis museum offer something akin to that to Weschler. He is sure, as are others who have had the chance to gaze upon the paintings and try to find a deeper meaning to them, that something akin to peace and tranquility is transmitted through these paintings. Albeit there are those (like Snow) who find a very different, and sexual, meaning to the paintings, however, Weschler feels that, surrounded by chaos, Vermeer was trying to instill a sense of calm in them. Weschler also felt this sense of “centeredness, a peacefulness, a serenity” as well as “a sense of perfectly equipoised grace” when he went to see the Vermeers at the Mauritshuis museum (14). It is interesting that Weschler was, at the same time, attending the trials of Yugoslav genocide perpetrators, specifically those committed against the Muslim Bosnians, with new and gruesome details unfolding every day. He went there to find a sense of calm, perhaps a similar feeling to that of Vermeer when he painted these works of art; “[f]or, of course, when Vermeer was painting those images, which for us have become the very emblem of peacefulness and serenity, all Europe was Bosnia (or had only just ceased to be)” (14). Of course, Vermeer, through his paintings, was expressing his need for calm and peace, just as much as Weschler was through his visits to see the Vermeers at the Mauritshuis.
Doty had an epiphany after seeing a group of mackerel in a “fresh-fish display”. Subsequently, he wrote a poem about the beauty of the group of mackerel, taking pains to illustrate how a single fish was nothing in itself; it was the whole group that formed the beautiful pattern. Doty decided that so it is with life too, all of us have an individual role to play, yet it pales in comparison to our role as a unified whole. As Doty puts it, “The poem was written some six ...Show more


There are many times in our lives when we do not exactly know what we are looking at on first glance, but our subconscious registers the occurrence of something significant immediately. The paintings of Vermeer are, perhaps, just such a phenomenon; in which, as per Weschler, one…
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