windows facing windows
Vilhelm Hammershøi, Interior of Courtyard, Strandgade 30
"In December 1898 Hammershøi moved into a seventeenth-century merchant house at Strandgade 30, Copenhagen. For the decade that he resided there in a second-floor apartment he painted more than sixty canvases depicting the rooms of the dwelling, often including his wife, Ida. Influenced by Dutch seventeenth-century painting, particularly the quiet interiors of Jan Vermeer and Pieter de Hooch, Hammershøi's meditations on the interior spaces of his apartment are psychologically enigmatic. Here he renders the building's interior courtyard, with strong illumination focused on an open window. Three doorways at lower right, each obscured, lead, respectively, to the street, to a staircase, and to the cellar. The eccentric and irregular geometries created by walls and windows, overhangs and thresholds, in conjunction with the essentially monochromatic gray palette punctuated by restrained mauve, endow the composition with a distinctly disturbing quality. The opened window and doorways suggest human presence, but the overall effect is one of profound absence."