A counterfeit of what has to decay’: Vermeer and the Mapping of Absence in A Woman with a Lute

 Johannes Vermeer,  A Woman with a Lute,  ca. 1662–64,  New York, Metropolitan Museum of Art

This essay explores Vermeer’s painting known as A Woman with a Lute from the Metropolitan Museum of Art as a visual poem on amorous and artistic longing. A closer look at its key elements—from the musical instrument being tuned by the lady to the map on the wall behind her—shows that this seemingly unmediated view into a private world is as engaged with ideas as Vermeer’s more overtly allegorical compositions. Most notable among these ideas are the relationship between the microcosm and the macrocosm, the notion that every record of the present is a form of “history,” and that the art of painting is no less eloquent in its silence than its sister arts of music or poetry. Ultimately, as in many other images of solitary females, with A Woman with a Lute the artist pulls us into a circle of desire, effectively turning us from beholders to coparticipants in a “composition,” whereby the absent comes back into presence.

DOI: 10.5092/jhna.2017.9.1.15

Acknowledgements

This essay is a small token of my gratitude for Walter Liedtke, whose love of art and brilliant insights live through his writings and the memories of our conversations. I also wish to thank the editors for their dedication in preparing this very special issue of the JHNA.

 Johannes Vermeer,  A Woman with a Lute,  ca. 1662–64,  New York, Metropolitan Museum of Art
Fig. 1 Johannes Vermeer, A Woman with a Lute, ca. 1662–64, oil on canvas, 51.4 x 45.7 cm.  New York, Metropolitan Museum of Art, inv. 25.110.24 (artwork in the public domain) [side-by-side viewer]
 Johannes Vermeer,  A Lady Writing,  ca. 1665–66, Washington, D.C., National Gallery of Art
Fig. 2 Johannes Vermeer, A Lady Writing, ca. 1665–66, oil on canvas, 45 x 39.9 cm. Washington, D.C., National Gallery of Art, inv. 1962.10.1 (artwork in the public domain) [side-by-side viewer]
 Johannes Vermeer,  A Woman in Blue Reading a Letter,  ca. 1662–65,  Amsterdam, Rijksmuseum
Fig. 3 Johannes Vermeer, A Woman in Blue Reading a Letter, ca. 1662–65, oil on canvas, 46.5 x 39 cm. Amsterdam, Rijksmuseum, inv. SK-C-251 (artwork in the public domain) [side-by-side viewer]
Fig. 4  Sebastian Münster, “Queen Europa,” hand-colored engraving, from Cosmographia Universalis (Basel: I Oporini, 1588).
Fig. 4 Sebastian Münster, “Queen Europa,” hand-colored engraving, from Cosmographia Universalis (Basel: I Oporini, 1588). [side-by-side viewer]
  1. 1. Jürgen Pieters, Speaking With the Dead: Explorations in Literature and History (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2005), 46, citing Huygens, Dienstighe Schilderij [A Painting that Serves], 1656.

  2. 2. Leon Battista Alberti, On Painting, trans. Cecil Grayson (London and New York: Penguin, 1991), bk. 2, p. 25. On Alberti’s importance in Holland, see Thijs Weststeijn, The Visible World: Samuel van Hoogstraten’s Art Theory and the Legitimation of Painting in the Dutch Golden Age, trans. Beverly Jackson and Lynne Richards (Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press, 2008), 28, 48, 50. For the story about the origin of painting told by Pliny, see Liana de Girolami Cheney, Giorgio Vasari’s TeachersSacred and Profane Art (New York and Bern: Peter Lang, 2007), 216.

  3. 3. PietersSpeaking with the Dead, 38.

  4. 4. For the importance of Petrarch in seventeenth-century Holland, see Alison McNeil Kettering, “Ter Borch’s Ladies in Satin,” Art History 16, no. 1 (1993): 95–124; reprinted in Looking at Seventeenth-Century Dutch Art: Realism Reconsidered, ed. Wayne Franits (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997). Huygens also introduced into Holland French Petrarchan airs for lute and harpsichord. See Elise Goodman, “The Landscapes on the Wall in Vermeer,” in The Cambridge Companion to Vermeer, ed. Wayne Franits, (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2001), 74–75. http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-8365.1993.tb00514.x

  5. 5. See Scott A. Trudell, “Performing Women in English Books of Ayres,” in Gender and Song in Early Modern England, ed. Leslie C. Dunn and Katherine R. Larson (Aldershot: Ashgate, 2014), 15–31, esp. 23.

  6. 6. http://www.metmuseum.org/toah/works-of-art/25.110.24 (accessed March 24, 2016). For the emblematic literature on music and love, see Eddy de Jongh, Zinne- en Minnebeelden in de schilderkunst van de zeventiende eeuw (Amsterdam: Nederlands Stichting Openbaar Kunstbezit,1967), 50–51.

  7. 7. On this, see Rodney Nevitt, “Vermeer on the Question of Love,” in The Cambridge Companion to Vermeer, ed. Wayne Franits (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2001), 97–100.

  8. 8. For a recent discussion, see Betsy Wieseman, Vermeer and Music: The Art of Love and Leisure, exh. cat. (London: National Gallery/New Haven: Yale University Press, 2013).

  9. 9. See Gustav Ungerer, “The Viol de Gamba as a Sexual Metaphor in Elizabethan Music and Literature,” Renaissance and Reformation 20, no. 2 (1984): 82, with examples of comparisons between the nerves and tendons of the human body that respond to stimulation and the strings of a lute or viola da gamba.

  10. 10. For this sonnet, see Julia Craig-McFeely,“The Signifying Serpent: Seduction by Cultural Stereotype in Seventeenth-Century England,” in Music, Sensation, and Sensuality, ed. Linda Phyllis Austern (New York: Routledge, 2002), 305.

  11. 11. “And as her lute doth live and die, / Led by her passion so must I, / For when of pleasure she doth sing, / My thoughts enjoy a sodaine spring, / But if she doth of sorrow speake, / Ev’n from my hart the strings doe breake.” (“When to her lute Corrina sings,” A Booke of Ayres [1601], no. 6); see Christopher R. Wilson, Shakespeare’s Musical Imagery (London: Continuum, 2001), 161.

  12. 12. “sibi soli canere odiosum est”: Florent Schoonhoven, Emblemata Florentii Schoonhovii I.C. Goudani partim moralia, partim etiam civilia. Cum latiori eorundum ejusdem auctoris interpretatione. Accedunt et alia quaedam poëmatia in aliis poëmatum suorum libris non contenta . . . (Elzevieriana, 1626), p. 179,emblem 59.  Tuning is also a common symbol of skill and craft. See Alciatus, Emblematum libellus (Paris: Chrestien Wechel, 1542), emblem “Foedera,” where we read about the great skill necessary to pull so many strings together. See also Jacob Cats, Proteus (The Hague, 1618), emblem 42, “Quid non sentit amor,” and Wieseman, Vermeer and Music, 26–28.

  13. 13. For the popularity of this composer in the Netherlands, see Diana Poulton, John Dowland, 2nd rev. ed. (Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1982), 440.

  14. 14. Shakespeare, Pericles, Act 1, lines 82–87; cited in Ungerer, “The Viol de Gamba as a Sexual Metaphor,” 82.

  15. 15. On this poem, see Ungerer, “The Viol de Gamba as a Sexual Metaphor,” 86.

  16. 16. For a discussion of this analogy in Bronzino’s Portrait of Laura Battiferra, see Irma B. Jaffe, with Gernando Colombardo, Shining EyesCruel Fortune: The Lives and Loves of Italian Renaissance Women Poets (New York: Fordham University Press, 2002), 222.

  17. 17. For the use of the term counterfeit (konterfeyt) in seventeenth-century Dutch art theory, see Celeste Brusati, Artifice and Illusion: The Art and Writing of Samuel Van Hoogstraten (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1995), 138–39, and passim.

  18. 18. On Vermeer’s maps and globes, see James Welu, “Vermeer: His Cartographic Sources,” Art Bulletin 57 (1975): 529–47. See also Evangelos Livieratos and Alexandra Koussoulakou, “Vermeer’s Maps: A New Digital Look in an Old Master’s Mirror,” Perimetron 2 (2006): 138–54; Laura J. Snyder, Eye of the Beholder: Johannes Vermeer, Anthony van Leeuwenhoek, and the Invention of Seeing (New York: Norton, 2015). http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/00043079.1975.10787213

  19. 19. The Art of Painting, ca. 1662–68, oil on canvas, 120 x 100 cm, Vienna, Kunsthistorisches Museum; The Geographer, ca. 1668–69, oil on canvas, 53 x 46.6 cm, Paris, Musée du Louvre; The Astronomer, 1668, oil on canvas, 90.2 x 78.7 cm, Frankfurt, Städelsches Kunstinstitut. On A Woman with a Pearl Necklace, ca. 1662–65, oil on canvas, 55 x 45 cm, Berlin, Gemäldegalerie, see especially Arthur K. Wheelock Jr., Johannes Vermeer, exh. cat. (Washington, D.C.: National Gallery of Art, and The Hague: Royal Cabinet of Paintings Mauritshuis, 1995), 154, cat. 12.

  20. 20. On the map in The Art of Painting, see Svetlana Alpers, The Art of Describing: Dutch Art in the Seventeenth Century (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1983), 122–24. Similarly, in the map on the wall of The Officer and the Laughing Girl (ca. 1655–60) from the Frick Collection in New York, the land masses are blue while the water surfaces are earth-colored, a reminder that every representation is filtered through the artist’s personal vision.

  21. 21. For Vermeer’s art and the epistemological concerns of the period, see Robert D. Huerta, Giants of Delft: Johannes Vermeer and the Natural Philosophers; The Parallel Search for Knowledge During the Age of Discovery (Lewisburg, Penn.: Bucknell University Press, 2003).

  22. 22. On this, see Helmer J. Helmers, The Royalist Republic (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2015), 21. Huygens had translated Donne’s poems by 1629 or 1630 and published nineteen of them in the collection Koren-Bloemen in 1658. In a letter of 1630 to P. C. Hooft, Huygens notes that Donne is held in great respect for “the wealth of his unequalled wit” and that “in poetry, he is more famous than anyone.” The poems included “The Flea,” “The Apparition,” “Witchcraft by a Picture,” “Twicknam Garden,” “Song-Goe and Catche a Falling Starre,” “The Tripple Foole,” “A Valediction: of Weeping,” “The Dreame, Elegie II (The Anagram),” part of “Elegie VI (Oh, let me not serve so),” “The Exstasie,” “The Blossome,” “Woman’s Constancy,” “A Valediction: Forbidding Mourning,” “The Sunne Rising,” “Breake of Day,” “Loves Deitie,” “The Legacie,” and “Good Friday 1613, Riding Westward.” See A. J. Smith, ed., John Donne (London: Routledge, 1983), 80–81. http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/CBO9781316104095

  23. 23. For a pioneering study of the metaphysical strain in Dutch poetry of the seventeenth century, see Rosalie L. Colie, Some Thankfulness to Constantine: A Study of English Influence upon the Early Works of Constantijn Huygens (The Hague:Martinus Nijhoff, 1956); and Rosalie L. Colie, “Constantijn Huygens and the Metaphysical Mode,” Germanic Review 34 (1959): 59–73. http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/978-94-015-0865-0

  24. 24. On this, see Catherine Albano, “Visible Bodies: Cartography and Anatomy,” in Literature, Mapping and Politics in Early Modern English, ed. Andrew Gordon and Bernhard Klein, (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2001), 89–106, esp. 94.

  25. 25. Ptolemy is the most influential authority for the anthropomorphic maps of the Renaissance; see Francesca Fioranni, The Marvel of Maps: Art, Cartography, and Politics in Renaissance Italy (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2005), 96.

  26. 26. Cited by Jerry Brotton, A History of the World in Twelve Maps (New York: Penguin, 2013), 43.

  27. 27. See also the anonymous Dutch engraving of Elizabeth/Europa of 1598 in Louis Montrose, The Subject of Elizabeth: Authority, Gender, and Representation (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2006), 155–56.

  28. 28. Albano, “Visible Bodies,” 101. On gendered bodies in Renaissance maps, see also Valerie Traub, “Mapping the Global Body,” in Early Modern Visual Culture: Representation, Race, Empire in Renaissance England, ed. Peter Erickson and Clarke Hulse (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2000), 44–97. In a similar vein, Johannes Stradanus depicts Amerigo Vespucci approaching the sleeping beauty “America” as a metaphor for the discovery of the New World; see Nova Reperta (ca. 1588–1612), pl. 1 (Hollstein 130, New Hollstein 323.I).

  29. 29. Look, and tomorrow late, tell me, / Whether both th’ Indias of spice and mine/Be where thou leftst them, or lie here with me . . . / She is all states, and all princes I, / Nothing else is. Princes do but play us; compared to this, / All honor’s mimic, all wealth alchemy. / Thou, sun, art half as happy as we, / In that the world’s contracted thus; . . . / This bed thy center is, these walls thy sphere.” John Donne, “The Sun Rising,” lines 16–30.

  30. 30. John Donne,  “Elegy XIX: Going to Bed,” line 28.

  31. 31. John Donne, “Love’s Progress,” lines 47–53.

  32. 32. See Bruce McLeod, The Geography of Empire in English Literature, 1580–1745 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1999), 95.

  33. 33. “And when we have . . . attained thereby to some reasonable knowledge of Geography, whatsoever we shall reade, these Chartes being placed, as it were certaine glasses before our eyes, will the longer be kept in the memory, and make the deeper impression in us.” Cited in Jerry BrottonTrading Territories: Mapping the Early Modern World (London: Reaktion Books, 1997), 175.

  34. 34. Following the rediscovery of Ptolemy, this analogy finds expression in paintings such as Raphael’s School of Athens (1509–11, Vatican). It has been suggested that Raphael’s self-portrait next to Bramante (qua Euclid) points both to their kinship and to the relationship between the art of painting and geographical projection and representation. See Joanna Woods-Marsden, Renaissance Self-Portraiture: The Visual Construction of Identity and the Social Status of the Artist (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1988), 124.

  35. 35. On Renaissance responses to lute playing, see Ann Smith, The Performance of 16th Century Music: Learning from the Theorists (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2011), 3.

  36. 36. Thomas Campion, “Awake, though Spring of Speaking Grace,” The Third Booke of Ayres, 148, cited by Trudell, “Performing Women,” 15.

  37. 37. The rest of the song continues: “Cupid doth hover up and downe blinded with her faire eyes, / and fortune captive at her feete contem’d and conquerd lies. / When fortune, love, and time attend on / Her with my fortunes, love, and time, I honour will alone, / If bloudlesse envie say, dutie hath no desert. / Dutie replies that envie knowes her selfe his faithfull heart, / My setled vowes and spotlesse faith no fortune can remove, / Courage shall shew my inward faith, and faith shall trie my love.” John Dowland, “Time Stands Still,” in The Third and Last Booke of Songs or Aires (London, 1603), no. 2. See John Dowland’s Lute Songs: Third and Fourth Books with Original Tablature, transcr. David Nadal (Mineola, N.Y.: Dover, 2002), ii.

Albano, Catherine. “Visible Bodies: Cartography and Anatomy.” In Literature, Mapping and Politics in Early Modern English, edited by Andrew Gordon and Bernhard Klein, 89–106. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2001.

Alberti, Leon Battista. On Painting. Translated by Cecil Grayson. London and New York: Penguin, 1991.

Alciatus. Emblematum libellus. Paris: Chrestien Wechel, 1542.

Alpers, Svetlana. The Art of Describing: Dutch Art in the Seventeenth Century. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1983.

Brotton, Jerry. Trading Territories. Mapping the Early Modern World. London: Reaktion Books, 1997.

Brotton, Jerry. A History of the World in Twelve Maps. New York: Penguin, 2012.

Brusati, Celeste. Artifice and Illusion: The Art and Writing of Samuel Van Hoogstraten. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1995.

Cats, Jacob. Proteus. The Hague, 1618.

Cheney, Liana de Girolami. Giorgio Vasari’s Teachers: Sacred and Profane Art. New York and Bern:  Peter Lang, 2007.

Colie, Rosalie L. Some Thankfulness to Constantine: A Study of English Influence upon the Early Works of Constantijn Huygens. The Hague: Martinus Nijhoff, 1956. http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/978-94-015-0865-0

Colie, Rosalie L. “Constantijn Huygens and the Metaphysical Mode.” Germanic Review 34 (1959): 59–73.

Craig-McFeely, Julia. “The Signifying Serpent: Seduction by Cultural Stereotype in Seventeenth-Century England.” In Music, Sensation, and Sensuality, edited by Linda Phyllis Austern, 299–321. New York: Routledge, 2002.

Dowland, John. John Dowland’s Lute Songs: Third and Fourth Books with Original Tablature. Transcribed by David Nadal. Mineola, N.Y.: Dover, 2002.

Fioranni, Francesca. The Marvel of Maps: Art, Cartography, and Politics in Renaissance Italy. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2005.

Franits, Wayne, ed. Looking at Seventeenth-Century Dutch Art: Realism Reconsidered. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997.

Goodman, Elise. “The Landscapes on the Wall in Vermeer.” In The Cambridge Companion to Vermeer, edited by Wayne Franits, 76–88. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2001.

Helmers, Helmer J. The Royalist Republic. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2015. http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/CBO9781316104095

Huerta, Robert D. Giants of Delft: Johannes Vermeer and the Natural Philosophers; The Parallel Search for Knowledge During the Age of Discovery. Lewisburg, Penn.: Bucknell University Press, 2003.

Jaffe, Irma B., with Gernando Colombardo. Shining Eyes, Cruel Fortune: The Lives and Loves of Italian Renaissance Women Poets. New York: Fordham University Press, 2002.

Jongh, Eddy de. Zinne- en minnebeelden in de schilderkunst van de zeventiende eeuw. Amsterdam: Nederlands Stichting Openbaar Kunstbezit,1967.

Kettering, Alison McNeil. “Ter Borch’s Ladies in Satin.” Art History 16, no. 1 (1993): 95–124. http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-8365.1993.tb00514.x

Livieratos, Evangelos, and Alexandra Koussoulakou. “Vermeer’s Maps: A New Digital Look in an Old Master’s Mirror.” Perimetron 2 (2006): 138–54.

McLeod, Bruce. The Geography of Empire in English Literature, 1580–1745. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1999.

Montrose, Louis. The Subject of Elizabeth: Authority, Gender, and Representation. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2006.

Nevitt, Rodney. “Vermeer on the Question of Love.” In The Cambridge Companion to Vermeer, edited by Wayne Franits, 89–110. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2001.

Pieters, Jürgen. Speaking With the Dead: Explorations in Literature and History. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2005.

Poulton, Diana. John Dowland. 2nd ed. rev. Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1982.

Schoonhoven, Florent. Emblemata Florentii Schoonhovii I. C. Goudani partim moralia, partim etiam civilia. Cum latiori eorundum ejusdem auctoris interpretatione. Accedunt et alia quaedam poëmatia in aliis poëmatum suorum libris non contenta . . . Elzeviriana, 1626.

Smith, A. J., ed. John Donne. London: Routledge, 1983.

Smith, Ann. The Performance of 16th Century Music: Learning from the Theorists. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2011.

Snyder, Laura J. Eye of the Beholder: Johannes Vermeer, Anthony van Leeuwenhoek, and the Invention of Seeing. New York: Norton, 2015.

Traub, Valerie. “Mapping the Global Body.” In Early Modern Visual Culture: Representation, Race, Empire in Renaissance England, edited by Peter Erickson and Clarke Hulse, 44–97. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2000.

Trudell, Scott A. “Performing Women in English Books of Ayres.” In Gender and Song in Early Modern England, edited by Leslie C. Dunn and Katherine R. Larson, 15–31. Aldershot: Ashgate, 2014.

Ungerer, Gustav. “The Viol de Gamba as a Sexual Metaphor in Elizabethan Music and Literature.” Renaissance and Reformation 20, no. 2 (1984): 79–90.

Welu, James. “Vermeer: His Cartographic Sources.” Art Bulletin 57 (1975): 529–47. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/00043079.1975.10787213

Weststeijn, Thijs. The Visible World: Samuel van Hoogstraten’s Art Theory and the Legitimation of Painting in the Dutch Golden Age. Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press, 2008.

Wheelock, Arthur K., Jr. Johannes Vermeer. Exh. cat. Washington, D.C.: National Gallery of Art, and The Hague: Royal Cabinet of Paintings Mauritshuis, 1995.

Wieseman, Betsy. Vermeer and Music: The Art of Love and Leisure. Exh. cat. London: National Gallery/New Haven: Yale University Press, 2013.

Wilson, Christopher R. Shakespeare’s Musical Imagery. London: Continuum, 2001.

Woods-Marsden, Joanna. Renaissance Self-Portraiture: The Visual Construction of Identity and the Social Status of the Artist. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1988.

List of Illustrations

 Johannes Vermeer,  A Woman with a Lute,  ca. 1662–64,  New York, Metropolitan Museum of Art
Fig. 1 Johannes Vermeer, A Woman with a Lute, ca. 1662–64, oil on canvas, 51.4 x 45.7 cm.  New York, Metropolitan Museum of Art, inv. 25.110.24 (artwork in the public domain) [side-by-side viewer]
 Johannes Vermeer,  A Lady Writing,  ca. 1665–66, Washington, D.C., National Gallery of Art
Fig. 2 Johannes Vermeer, A Lady Writing, ca. 1665–66, oil on canvas, 45 x 39.9 cm. Washington, D.C., National Gallery of Art, inv. 1962.10.1 (artwork in the public domain) [side-by-side viewer]
 Johannes Vermeer,  A Woman in Blue Reading a Letter,  ca. 1662–65,  Amsterdam, Rijksmuseum
Fig. 3 Johannes Vermeer, A Woman in Blue Reading a Letter, ca. 1662–65, oil on canvas, 46.5 x 39 cm. Amsterdam, Rijksmuseum, inv. SK-C-251 (artwork in the public domain) [side-by-side viewer]
Fig. 4  Sebastian Münster, “Queen Europa,” hand-colored engraving, from Cosmographia Universalis (Basel: I Oporini, 1588).
Fig. 4 Sebastian Münster, “Queen Europa,” hand-colored engraving, from Cosmographia Universalis (Basel: I Oporini, 1588). [side-by-side viewer]

Footnotes

  1. 1. Jürgen Pieters, Speaking With the Dead: Explorations in Literature and History (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2005), 46, citing Huygens, Dienstighe Schilderij [A Painting that Serves], 1656.

  2. 2. Leon Battista Alberti, On Painting, trans. Cecil Grayson (London and New York: Penguin, 1991), bk. 2, p. 25. On Alberti’s importance in Holland, see Thijs Weststeijn, The Visible World: Samuel van Hoogstraten’s Art Theory and the Legitimation of Painting in the Dutch Golden Age, trans. Beverly Jackson and Lynne Richards (Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press, 2008), 28, 48, 50. For the story about the origin of painting told by Pliny, see Liana de Girolami Cheney, Giorgio Vasari’s TeachersSacred and Profane Art (New York and Bern: Peter Lang, 2007), 216.

  3. 3. PietersSpeaking with the Dead, 38.

  4. 4. For the importance of Petrarch in seventeenth-century Holland, see Alison McNeil Kettering, “Ter Borch’s Ladies in Satin,” Art History 16, no. 1 (1993): 95–124; reprinted in Looking at Seventeenth-Century Dutch Art: Realism Reconsidered, ed. Wayne Franits (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997). Huygens also introduced into Holland French Petrarchan airs for lute and harpsichord. See Elise Goodman, “The Landscapes on the Wall in Vermeer,” in The Cambridge Companion to Vermeer, ed. Wayne Franits, (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2001), 74–75. http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-8365.1993.tb00514.x

  5. 5. See Scott A. Trudell, “Performing Women in English Books of Ayres,” in Gender and Song in Early Modern England, ed. Leslie C. Dunn and Katherine R. Larson (Aldershot: Ashgate, 2014), 15–31, esp. 23.

  6. 6. http://www.metmuseum.org/toah/works-of-art/25.110.24 (accessed March 24, 2016). For the emblematic literature on music and love, see Eddy de Jongh, Zinne- en Minnebeelden in de schilderkunst van de zeventiende eeuw (Amsterdam: Nederlands Stichting Openbaar Kunstbezit,1967), 50–51.

  7. 7. On this, see Rodney Nevitt, “Vermeer on the Question of Love,” in The Cambridge Companion to Vermeer, ed. Wayne Franits (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2001), 97–100.

  8. 8. For a recent discussion, see Betsy Wieseman, Vermeer and Music: The Art of Love and Leisure, exh. cat. (London: National Gallery/New Haven: Yale University Press, 2013).

  9. 9. See Gustav Ungerer, “The Viol de Gamba as a Sexual Metaphor in Elizabethan Music and Literature,” Renaissance and Reformation 20, no. 2 (1984): 82, with examples of comparisons between the nerves and tendons of the human body that respond to stimulation and the strings of a lute or viola da gamba.

  10. 10. For this sonnet, see Julia Craig-McFeely,“The Signifying Serpent: Seduction by Cultural Stereotype in Seventeenth-Century England,” in Music, Sensation, and Sensuality, ed. Linda Phyllis Austern (New York: Routledge, 2002), 305.

  11. 11. “And as her lute doth live and die, / Led by her passion so must I, / For when of pleasure she doth sing, / My thoughts enjoy a sodaine spring, / But if she doth of sorrow speake, / Ev’n from my hart the strings doe breake.” (“When to her lute Corrina sings,” A Booke of Ayres [1601], no. 6); see Christopher R. Wilson, Shakespeare’s Musical Imagery (London: Continuum, 2001), 161.

  12. 12. “sibi soli canere odiosum est”: Florent Schoonhoven, Emblemata Florentii Schoonhovii I.C. Goudani partim moralia, partim etiam civilia. Cum latiori eorundum ejusdem auctoris interpretatione. Accedunt et alia quaedam poëmatia in aliis poëmatum suorum libris non contenta . . . (Elzevieriana, 1626), p. 179,emblem 59.  Tuning is also a common symbol of skill and craft. See Alciatus, Emblematum libellus (Paris: Chrestien Wechel, 1542), emblem “Foedera,” where we read about the great skill necessary to pull so many strings together. See also Jacob Cats, Proteus (The Hague, 1618), emblem 42, “Quid non sentit amor,” and Wieseman, Vermeer and Music, 26–28.

  13. 13. For the popularity of this composer in the Netherlands, see Diana Poulton, John Dowland, 2nd rev. ed. (Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1982), 440.

  14. 14. Shakespeare, Pericles, Act 1, lines 82–87; cited in Ungerer, “The Viol de Gamba as a Sexual Metaphor,” 82.

  15. 15. On this poem, see Ungerer, “The Viol de Gamba as a Sexual Metaphor,” 86.

  16. 16. For a discussion of this analogy in Bronzino’s Portrait of Laura Battiferra, see Irma B. Jaffe, with Gernando Colombardo, Shining EyesCruel Fortune: The Lives and Loves of Italian Renaissance Women Poets (New York: Fordham University Press, 2002), 222.

  17. 17. For the use of the term counterfeit (konterfeyt) in seventeenth-century Dutch art theory, see Celeste Brusati, Artifice and Illusion: The Art and Writing of Samuel Van Hoogstraten (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1995), 138–39, and passim.

  18. 18. On Vermeer’s maps and globes, see James Welu, “Vermeer: His Cartographic Sources,” Art Bulletin 57 (1975): 529–47. See also Evangelos Livieratos and Alexandra Koussoulakou, “Vermeer’s Maps: A New Digital Look in an Old Master’s Mirror,” Perimetron 2 (2006): 138–54; Laura J. Snyder, Eye of the Beholder: Johannes Vermeer, Anthony van Leeuwenhoek, and the Invention of Seeing (New York: Norton, 2015). http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/00043079.1975.10787213

  19. 19. The Art of Painting, ca. 1662–68, oil on canvas, 120 x 100 cm, Vienna, Kunsthistorisches Museum; The Geographer, ca. 1668–69, oil on canvas, 53 x 46.6 cm, Paris, Musée du Louvre; The Astronomer, 1668, oil on canvas, 90.2 x 78.7 cm, Frankfurt, Städelsches Kunstinstitut. On A Woman with a Pearl Necklace, ca. 1662–65, oil on canvas, 55 x 45 cm, Berlin, Gemäldegalerie, see especially Arthur K. Wheelock Jr., Johannes Vermeer, exh. cat. (Washington, D.C.: National Gallery of Art, and The Hague: Royal Cabinet of Paintings Mauritshuis, 1995), 154, cat. 12.

  20. 20. On the map in The Art of Painting, see Svetlana Alpers, The Art of Describing: Dutch Art in the Seventeenth Century (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1983), 122–24. Similarly, in the map on the wall of The Officer and the Laughing Girl (ca. 1655–60) from the Frick Collection in New York, the land masses are blue while the water surfaces are earth-colored, a reminder that every representation is filtered through the artist’s personal vision.

  21. 21. For Vermeer’s art and the epistemological concerns of the period, see Robert D. Huerta, Giants of Delft: Johannes Vermeer and the Natural Philosophers; The Parallel Search for Knowledge During the Age of Discovery (Lewisburg, Penn.: Bucknell University Press, 2003).

  22. 22. On this, see Helmer J. Helmers, The Royalist Republic (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2015), 21. Huygens had translated Donne’s poems by 1629 or 1630 and published nineteen of them in the collection Koren-Bloemen in 1658. In a letter of 1630 to P. C. Hooft, Huygens notes that Donne is held in great respect for “the wealth of his unequalled wit” and that “in poetry, he is more famous than anyone.” The poems included “The Flea,” “The Apparition,” “Witchcraft by a Picture,” “Twicknam Garden,” “Song-Goe and Catche a Falling Starre,” “The Tripple Foole,” “A Valediction: of Weeping,” “The Dreame, Elegie II (The Anagram),” part of “Elegie VI (Oh, let me not serve so),” “The Exstasie,” “The Blossome,” “Woman’s Constancy,” “A Valediction: Forbidding Mourning,” “The Sunne Rising,” “Breake of Day,” “Loves Deitie,” “The Legacie,” and “Good Friday 1613, Riding Westward.” See A. J. Smith, ed., John Donne (London: Routledge, 1983), 80–81. http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/CBO9781316104095

  23. 23. For a pioneering study of the metaphysical strain in Dutch poetry of the seventeenth century, see Rosalie L. Colie, Some Thankfulness to Constantine: A Study of English Influence upon the Early Works of Constantijn Huygens (The Hague:Martinus Nijhoff, 1956); and Rosalie L. Colie, “Constantijn Huygens and the Metaphysical Mode,” Germanic Review 34 (1959): 59–73. http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/978-94-015-0865-0

  24. 24. On this, see Catherine Albano, “Visible Bodies: Cartography and Anatomy,” in Literature, Mapping and Politics in Early Modern English, ed. Andrew Gordon and Bernhard Klein, (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2001), 89–106, esp. 94.

  25. 25. Ptolemy is the most influential authority for the anthropomorphic maps of the Renaissance; see Francesca Fioranni, The Marvel of Maps: Art, Cartography, and Politics in Renaissance Italy (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2005), 96.

  26. 26. Cited by Jerry Brotton, A History of the World in Twelve Maps (New York: Penguin, 2013), 43.

  27. 27. See also the anonymous Dutch engraving of Elizabeth/Europa of 1598 in Louis Montrose, The Subject of Elizabeth: Authority, Gender, and Representation (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2006), 155–56.

  28. 28. Albano, “Visible Bodies,” 101. On gendered bodies in Renaissance maps, see also Valerie Traub, “Mapping the Global Body,” in Early Modern Visual Culture: Representation, Race, Empire in Renaissance England, ed. Peter Erickson and Clarke Hulse (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2000), 44–97. In a similar vein, Johannes Stradanus depicts Amerigo Vespucci approaching the sleeping beauty “America” as a metaphor for the discovery of the New World; see Nova Reperta (ca. 1588–1612), pl. 1 (Hollstein 130, New Hollstein 323.I).

  29. 29. Look, and tomorrow late, tell me, / Whether both th’ Indias of spice and mine/Be where thou leftst them, or lie here with me . . . / She is all states, and all princes I, / Nothing else is. Princes do but play us; compared to this, / All honor’s mimic, all wealth alchemy. / Thou, sun, art half as happy as we, / In that the world’s contracted thus; . . . / This bed thy center is, these walls thy sphere.” John Donne, “The Sun Rising,” lines 16–30.

  30. 30. John Donne,  “Elegy XIX: Going to Bed,” line 28.

  31. 31. John Donne, “Love’s Progress,” lines 47–53.

  32. 32. See Bruce McLeod, The Geography of Empire in English Literature, 1580–1745 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1999), 95.

  33. 33. “And when we have . . . attained thereby to some reasonable knowledge of Geography, whatsoever we shall reade, these Chartes being placed, as it were certaine glasses before our eyes, will the longer be kept in the memory, and make the deeper impression in us.” Cited in Jerry BrottonTrading Territories: Mapping the Early Modern World (London: Reaktion Books, 1997), 175.

  34. 34. Following the rediscovery of Ptolemy, this analogy finds expression in paintings such as Raphael’s School of Athens (1509–11, Vatican). It has been suggested that Raphael’s self-portrait next to Bramante (qua Euclid) points both to their kinship and to the relationship between the art of painting and geographical projection and representation. See Joanna Woods-Marsden, Renaissance Self-Portraiture: The Visual Construction of Identity and the Social Status of the Artist (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1988), 124.

  35. 35. On Renaissance responses to lute playing, see Ann Smith, The Performance of 16th Century Music: Learning from the Theorists (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2011), 3.

  36. 36. Thomas Campion, “Awake, though Spring of Speaking Grace,” The Third Booke of Ayres, 148, cited by Trudell, “Performing Women,” 15.

  37. 37. The rest of the song continues: “Cupid doth hover up and downe blinded with her faire eyes, / and fortune captive at her feete contem’d and conquerd lies. / When fortune, love, and time attend on / Her with my fortunes, love, and time, I honour will alone, / If bloudlesse envie say, dutie hath no desert. / Dutie replies that envie knowes her selfe his faithfull heart, / My setled vowes and spotlesse faith no fortune can remove, / Courage shall shew my inward faith, and faith shall trie my love.” John Dowland, “Time Stands Still,” in The Third and Last Booke of Songs or Aires (London, 1603), no. 2. See John Dowland’s Lute Songs: Third and Fourth Books with Original Tablature, transcr. David Nadal (Mineola, N.Y.: Dover, 2002), ii.

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DOI: 10.5092/jhna.2017.9.1.15
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Aneta Georgievska-Shine, "A counterfeit of what has to decay’: Vermeer and the Mapping of Absence in A Woman with a Lute," Journal of Historians of Netherlandish Art 9:1 (Winter 2017) DOI: 10.5092/jhna.2017.9.1.15