This and That: Johannes Vermeer and Salvador Dalí

by Caleb Bell January 2, 2023

“This and That” is an occasional series of paired observations. See past “This and That” posts here. – Ed.

Today: Reading letters

An image of a women dressed in blue. She is reading a letter, and is in profile.

Johannes Vermeer (Dutch, 1632–1675), “Woman in Blue Reading a Letter,” c. 1663, oil on canvas, 18 1/4 x 15 3/8 inches (46.5 x 39 cm). Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam. On loan from the City of Amsterdam (A. van der Hoop Bequest), SK-C-251.

An abstracted image of a woman reading a letter. Her facial characteristics are not visible, and she is mostly made of shapes. The colors are very yellow and brown.

Salvador Dalí (Spanish, 1904–1989), “The Image Disappears,” 1938, oil on canvas, 22 1/4 x 19 7/8 inches (56.5 x 50.5 cm). Work loaned by the Fundació Gala-Salvador Dalí. © 2022 Salvador Dalí, Fundació Gala-Salvador Dalí, Artists Rights Society.

On view at the Meadows Museum in Dallas through January 15, 2023, Dalí/Vermeer: A Dialogue pairs Johannes Vermeer’s Woman in Blue Reading a Letter (c.1663) with Salvador Dali’s later interpretation of the work, The Image Disappears (1938). On loan from the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam and the Fundació Gala-Salvador Dalí in Figueres, respectively, this exhibition marks the first time the pair of works are on view together.


No matter how original, innovative or crazy your idea, someone else is also working on that idea. Furthermore, they are using notation very similar to yours. – Bruce J. MacLennan

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