More mirror reunions

This posting is a continuation of a series about mirror reunions that I had during our recent trip to Spain. I started with the Las Meninas – and honestly expected to finish all the rendezvous in one go. Alas, my thoughts start getting tangents after tangents, and I managed to cover only such encounter (although with some bonus, about ‘royal mirrors’).

This time it will be about another very important ‘mirror work’, the painting by Jan de Beer (the one you see above). I wrote about its mirrors already a very long time ago (see De Beer & The Grandma’s Mirror), and basically from this time I knew that one day I need to come this museum, with a bit difficult name, Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza.  Well, this day has come.

In my posting about Museum Prado I was whining a bit about my experience there. Perhaps one of the reasons for that is in the order of things. It just happened that we first visited the Thyssen, and it was such a great experience that Prado simply lost in comparison.

TheThyssen’s collection is not just excellent, it’s simly stunning, crème de la crème. In many ways it looks even larger than the one of Prado – perhaps, not in absolute numbers, but in the sheer scope it covers, from the Middle Ages to the late modernity. But what’s most striking is that despite its sheer size and scope, the museum  remains very homey and human, humane even (again, especially compared to the imperial Prado). The museum has very good website where one can find almost every artwork from the collection – and yet it also allows to take pictures!

This is the painting itself, and the link leads to even bigger picture:

The mirror:

And the ‘mirror’

These images didn’t change my ideas, but did provide some interesting details (for instance, the frame of the first mirror seems to be made from ivory, as far as I can see). And we can much better see the intricate structure of the mirror-icon of in the bed of Saint Anna.

This was very important for my understanding of mirror/’mirror’ dichotomy, and in fact the very first one where I saw both objects presented at the same time. But as often happens, there are many more interesting details than the mirrors per se, for example, the nice work of reflections on the bailer

and another interesting reflection on the pitcher in the background:


To my pleasant surprise, I found one more work of de Beer there, yet another Annunciation of him:

This version didn’t have any mirrors (as opposed to the other two that did), but instead I found another interesting detail, a small mirror-clasp of the Archangel Gabriel:

I can’t remember if their website had this feature before, but now one can also see the painting in context – at least, in the context of other paintings in its vicinity, in a semi-3D view.

I foresee the day when we will not have to go to the museums to see the works, or rather we will be walking in the virtual spaces and enjoying the tiniest details of the art works; Rainbows End is behind the corner.




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