Wednesday, September 7, 2011


(Couple Looking at a Globe, Lambert Doomer, 1684, Fleming Museum, Burlington, VT)

This lovely work of art will always warm the cockles of my heart.

Just what are cockles, anyway?


Sometimes ignorance truly is bliss.

When I look at this masterpiece,  I don't really see the couple in the painting.

I see Bob and me.

The gentleman in this picture doesn't look like Bob, does he?

Well, no.

Not unless Bob decides to start wearing a curly, long-locks wig tomorrow.

And lacy, ruffled cuffs.

Naturally, I'd have to check with him first but I don't see that happening any time soon.

And the gentlewoman certainly isn't me on any conceivable level.

Let's see now.

The last time I planted a red posie in my bodice was never.

And I can not stand to wear any type of head covering.

I'd never be caught dead wearing that wrinkled napkin she's sporting.

That said, I've definitely got my eyes on her milky white pearls.

All of them.

Truth be told, I've got a spiffy little collection of these gleaming spheres myself.

Dutch painter, Lambert Doomer, created this work on wood using oil paints.

That accounts for its deep, rich earth tones and its lifelike textures.

Doomer was a student of the great Dutch master, Rembrandt.

Lucky him!

Let me tell you what I really love about this painting.

I love the dreamy, trance-like expression on the gentlewoman's face.

You can't miss her expression.

Doomer has made sure of that by focusing the lightest light directly on her face.

Transfixed, she's gazes at the globe - dare I say? -  lovingly.

Her creamy eyelids are partially closed.

The faint flicker of a smile crosses her rosy lips.

Her beautiful left hand caresses the rim of the globe.

But just barely.

All of these painterly tricks work together to tell us that the gentlewoman has left our presence.

For all intents and purposes, she is in another place.

A place that is far removed from us.


Study her male companion.

His right hand is holding a set of calipers.

The calipers are pointing to a particular spot on that globe.

A spot that he wants his lady friend to see.

His eyes are gazing longingly at her.

They are not on the globe.

Is he whispering sweet nothings in her ear?

It sure looks like it!

If he is, indeed, speaking to the gentlewoman might he be saying something like this?

"My darling, pack your bags.  I'm taking you away from all this.  Let's take a three week holiday to VIENNA!  If that doesn't suit your fancy, perhaps we could go to VENICE!  Not your cup of herbal tea?  They say VEGAS is lovely this time of year.  I'm leaving the decision up to you.  Please don't tarry long, my sweet.  I must have you to myself!"


That's why she has that look of enchantment on her angelic face.

Mr. Wonderful wants to whisk her away to places unknown.


Because he MUST bask in her radiant glory and worship the ground she walks on for three whole weeks!

Don't ya just love a good old-fashioned romance?


Now, then, perhaps I should get my head out of the clouds for a few minutes.

The last time I checked,  I couldn't find a set of calipers in Bob's desk drawers.

He still is and always will be follically challenged.

And highly allergic to ruffles.

Whispering has never been his thing.

But this is what I do know:

Bob owns a globe.

(He keeps it in the garage with the rest of his manly gear.)

And when he turns away from it long enough to say, ""I think we should go to Munich in the spring," I'm besotted to the core.

My heart flutters.

My toes tweak.

And oddly enough......

the dreamy expression on my face looks identical to the dreamy expression on the face of Doomer's gentlewoman.

It turns out that she and I have a lot in common.

The men in our lives have traveling plans.

And they include us.

What more could a wandering girl want?


Now for the real scoop on the meaning of Doomer's painting.

This information appeared on the painting's wall plate in the Fleming Museum:

"Lambert Doomer's "Couple Looking at a Globe" is an allegorical representation of Holland's economic success and scientific progress in the seventeenth century.  The woman's pearls are symbolic of wealth from the Far East, where the Dutch had colonized Indonesia and monopolized trade with Japan; the calipers held by the man were a common symbol of scientific study.  The couple touch the globe with a familiarity that suggests the position of dominion that Holland held in the world at that time."


Oh, well.

So much for my good old-fashioned romance.

Frankly, I don't much give a hoot about Holland, the Far East or "common symbols of scientific study."

At least, not in this context.


I'd rather focus on that romantic glint in our gentleman's eye.

How about you?


  1. This is my new favorite painting! I love your interpretation!

  2. I totally agree with your interpretation. It does remind me of you and Bob.

  3. All I saw was the globe. I didn't really notice that there were people in the picture.