we see through a glass, darkly, but then face to face: now I know
in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known."
James version, so lovely in language, scripture which we quote
here merely for our purpose, for the sentence reads like the
finest poetic description of romantic love: to glimpse at first,
to have only an inkling, and then all of love revealed, to know
and to be known, in the Biblical sense and more...
thinking design, but interior decoration for the soul.
Chairs may be iconic, couches sleek and sexy or overstuffed and
comfy, tables all legs, but with mirrors we can dream, step into
other worlds, see ourselves, see all of love, and of course, open up rooms and create the illusion of space.
appearance, reflection, truth. The looking glass, the
mirror, revealer of the truth unvarnished, will tell us who is
the fairest of us all. In the beginning, humans looked
at themselves in water; later they stared into the polished
darkness of obsidian and other stones. Pliny tells of
mirrors of carbuncle and emerald that the emperor Nero possessed.
Small, rough glass mirrors date to Sidon in the first century A.D.
The Greeks, the Romans, and the Egyptians all produced mirrors of
metal. On the Venetian island of Murano, skilled glass
artisans have been making mirrors for centuries—they were the
first to perfect the
elusive art of making clear sheets of glass, originally using a
tin-mercury amalgam as a backing, the silvering process being
developed by a German only in the 19th century.
Arnolfini Portrait, Jan van Eyck, 1434,
Oil on Oak, National Gallery, London
(Detail at top)
secrets. Mirrors are a recurring metaphor in art, as in Jan
van Eyck’s famous Arnolfini Portrait of 1434. This
painting is perhaps about a secret and its revelation. And
not the obvious, the woman, her possible debated pregnancy, the
marriage, but instead perhaps what the convex mirror on the wall (detail at top) between the Arnolfini couple reveals. The artist David Hockney’s and the
physicist Charles Falco’s controversial theory about the use of
optical instruments in art, the Hockney-Falco thesis, posits that perhaps
van Eyck, who is noted for the intricacy of detail in his
paintings and brilliant use of perspective, used a convex mirror
as an optical aid, which is one way of seeing with such detail.
And perhaps the artist is here revealing his secret, the central
position of the mirror, its revelation of two more people in the
room, one of them possibly van Eyck himself, the other perhaps the
viewer. The mirror, the oculus in the room. A metaphor for
the art of painting itself.
Lesson, Johannes Vermeer,
for detail view
The use of
optical aids in art has a long history and Vermeer whose use of
the camera obscura is generally accepted created one of the
loveliest and most subtle paintings with a mirror, The Music
Lesson (1662-1665). (Click above to see the painting in
detail.) The emotional interaction between
the two people becomes tangible only after the eyes are drawn
upward by the strong geometries of tiles and arabesques of carpet
to the mirror, and we then see that the tilt of the woman’s head
is much more marked than we would have thought at first, and it is
only then that the mysterious and harmonious tension between the
two lovers becomes palpable.
fabulous mirror at 1stdibs.com
flat with its marvelous mirrors