Women who read – in Arts
As viewers, we are invited to enter a place – a garden or a sunlit room – to watch a woman, who is mentally in another place. She might be time-travelling – back to ancient Greece or the Medieval Ages, discovering the coast or the mountains, or making new friends in a country far away.
While the book lasts, she could be a completely different person from the lady we see in the portrait. She might be a dog strolling through the forests, a smart man conquering a young woman, or a little, shy boy playing with his toys. She might be escaping from her sorrowful life into a lovely comedy, a romantic tragedy – living in a Russian novel, an English drama or a fairy tale.
“The woman reader is perfectly still, pinned into place and completely unaware of us watching her. Simultaneously, she has escaped us entirely. Probably it’s the voyeurism that interests some artists. For others, let’s hope it’s the escape.” Thomas Newkirk
Have a look at her face, her expression. Does she smile while the lines of the book create beautiful sceneries in her head? Does she suffer from the pain the hero of the story has to go through on this page? Or does she dream of entering the adventure the young gentlemen experiences right now? What is really going on in her mind remains invisible. We will never know her identity, her thoughts, her dreams.
Yet we can admire her knowledge, her beauty and her attitude.