One of the most beautiful paintings of all times comes back to Washington

Twenty tears ago, in full blizzard, we went to visit the Vermeer exhibition at the National Gallery, Christina Zarifopol Illias, Mircea Mihaies, and myself. Mary stayed home with Adam who was a few months old. My sister Vicky and her husband Nicu stayed with them. The weather was terrible. Flights were cancelled. Fights over budget had shut down the federal government., Mircea and I spent ten days putting together the volume “Balul mascat.” At the Vermeer exhibition, I watched very carefully an elder gentleman who seemed enthralled with the paintings. He was Robert McNamara. For years thereafter I have been wondering what was in his mind contemplating the immensely peaceful images, the perfect tranquillity of Vermeer’s masterpieces. Was he thinking about Vietnam? Or about the frailty of human economic and social arrangements? About the inescapable passing of time? I can’t wait to see again “The Woman in Blue”…

 

Vermeer's 1663 work, Woman in Blue Reading a Letter, is back on display at the National Gallery after its first visit 20 years ago.

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