It is the people who live on top, restfully and staidly underneath it is their shadows which move...I should not wonder if the surface of the grachts still reflected the shadows of people from bygone centuries, men in broad ruffs and women in mob caps...The towns appear to be standing, not on the earth, but on their own reflections; these gighly respectable streets appear to emerge from from bottomless depths of dreams...Karel Capek, Letters from Holland, 1933.
Yes, I know well the world of poverty and ugliness, but I painted the skin, the glittering surface, the appearance of things: the silky ladies, and gentlemen in irreproachable black. I admired how fiercely the fought for a life slightly longer than the one for which they were destined. They protected themselves with fashion, tailors' accessories, a fancy ruffle, ingenious cuffs...any detail that would allow them to last a little longer before they - and we as well - are engulfed by the black background - S. Herbert, Still Life With a Bridle
Our task is not to solve enigmas, but to be aware of them, to bow our heas before them and also to prepare the eyes for never-ending delight and wonder. If you absolutley require discoveries, hoever, I will tell you that I am proud to have succeeded in combining a certain particularly intensive cobalt with a luminous lemonlike yellow, as well as recording the reflection of southern light that strikes thick glass on to a grey wall...Allows us to continue our archaic procedure, to tell the world words of reconiliation and to speak of joy from recovered harmony, of the eternal desire for reciprocated love. - Letter attributed to Jan Vermeer