The Vermeer Interviews: Conversations with Seven Works of Art

Overview

In this innovative look at seven paintings by Jan Vermeer, author Bob Raczka takes on the role of interviewer and the people in the paintings become his willing subjects. From The Milkmaid to The Geographer, Raczka teases out fascinating details about these gorgeous works of art and their mysterious creator. As you might imagine, after more than three hundred years of silence, the characters inside these paintings have much to share.

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Overview

In this innovative look at seven paintings by Jan Vermeer, author Bob Raczka takes on the role of interviewer and the people in the paintings become his willing subjects. From The Milkmaid to The Geographer, Raczka teases out fascinating details about these gorgeous works of art and their mysterious creator. As you might imagine, after more than three hundred years of silence, the characters inside these paintings have much to share.

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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Barbara L. Talcroft
Sometimes called the "Sphinx of Delft," Vermeer left behind no letters, no diaries, no self-portraits. Raczka has hit upon an innovative way to introduce the Dutch painter and his works to young art-lovers: interviewing the characters in seven of the famous paintings. The subjects, though quite willing to talk, remain mysterious about their identities or what Vermeer might have intended. All answers turn the reader's attention back to the paintings, and what glorious paintings they are! "The Milkmaid," pouring milk from a terra cotta pitcher with light streaming in from the left, points out the flow of light around her body and her favorite detail, a broken windowpane. "The Geographer" tells of Dutch interest in maps and globes, hinting that he may represent a Delft scientist of the time; Vermeer has made him gazing upward, as if yearning to travel to faraway places. Two young women in their triangular jackets (one blue and one a gorgeous yellow) illuminated from the same windows, illustrate Vermeer's repeated use of these colors and the motifs of reading a letter or admiring pearls. Equally fascinating, "The Artist in His Studio" sits with his back to the viewer, his subject a young model dressed in that heavenly blue, clutching her allegorical props. Could he be Vermeer? Clever Raczka elicits just enough information through his questions, the subjects' answers, and photos of artifacts to whet the curiosity of young readers, making them long to discover more about these exquisite paintings and the elusive Sphinx of Delft. Reviewer: Barbara L. Talcroft
School Library Journal

Gr 3-7

In this clever art history book, Raczka makes Johannes Vermeer's masterpieces accessible by employing an interview format. Clearly stating that these "conversations" are "as imagined" by the author, "Bob" asks the subjects of seven paintings a series of questions about themselves and their surroundings, allowing them to give details about the art techniques, historical context, and cultural elements. Large reproductions of the works are featured, as are photos of relevant sculptures and tools. Raczka avoids editorializing in the interview format, which is a feat; the text provides straightforward analysis and information. The language used by the figures in the paintings is modern, which can be disconcerting at times, but the interviewees come across as lively individuals. The tone throughout remains light and conversational, as readers are encouraged to think about the details and stories found in each work of art. While Mike Venezia's Johannes Vermeer (Children's Press, 2002) contains more paintings, Raczka goes into more detail about the works themselves; his book is more art critique than biography. It will be useful for children learning about Vermeer, the time period in which he lived, and art critique in general.-Laura Lutz, Queens Borough Public Library, NY

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781580138826
  • Publisher: Lerner Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 3/28/2010
  • Pages: 32
  • Sales rank: 995,853
  • Age range: 9 - 12 Years
  • Product dimensions: 7.60 (w) x 9.80 (h) x 0.20 (d)

Meet the Author

Bob Razka Since majoring in art at the University of Illinois, Bob has been a writer at various Chicago area advertising agencies. His other books for the series include No One Saw...Ordinary Things Through the Eyes of an Artist; Art Is...; More Than Meets the Eye: Seeing Art with All Five Senses; Unlikely Pairs: Fun with Famous Works of Art; Here's Looking at Me: How Artists See Themselves; 3-D ABC: A Sculptural Alphabet; and Artful Reading.

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