One of my little spots of beauty is particularly applicable here because it is hanging in my house after acknowledging my own taste and limits and also because it itself communicates Hidden Art.
I have always liked Vermeer’s painting The Milkmaid. I love how it portrays womanly, homey beauty. The milkmaid herself is pretty, but strong and not particularly thin. She’s attractive, but not preoccupied with herself. There’s the table, which is dressed with cloth and crockery but not “just so.” And there’s bread and milk, and she is preparing food. A peasant’s fare, but it’s being prepared with care and attention. I just love it.
But, a number of years ago, I heard a very artistic friend mention how she loves having original artwork (from local and small-scale artists) rather than prints of great works. She prefers seeing the great works also in their original in museums. So, for years I did not purchase a print of The Milkmaid for fear of being tacky and silly, because I lacked confidence in my own style.
Finally, though, I realized that I was not likely to ever see any great works in an art museum, and if I did I wouldn’t appreciate it like my friend would, and I didn’t have to let her taste and sensibilities dictate mine. So I asked for a print of The Milkmaid for my birthday, and Matt found one, framed it, and hung it. I consoled myself when I asked for it that I would just hang it in the laundry room, where I could be inspired by it but it wouldn’t offend someone who might have higher standards. However, the size Matt got was too large to fit where I’d been thinking I’d put it.
So now it hangs happily right in our kitchen area, a proud and bold placement for a demure and reserved woman. I see it all the time, everyday, and it grounds me. That is the sort of beauty I want, not only for my home but for myself. This, I want my sons to see, is the sort of beautiful woman worth admiring and staring at.
Bread and milk. Useful yet attractive crockery. To me, The Milkmaid epitomizes an earthy, grounded, substantial beauty.
Follow the Hidden Art Pinterest board or Ordo Amoris to see more women’s individual expressions of hidden art over the next couple months!