The Letter

Guido Rey1908

The J. Paul Getty Museum

The J. Paul Getty Museum

A deliberate homage to an earlier artistic style that Guido Rey admired, the composition derives from a painting made by Dutch artist Jan Vermeer in the 1600s . In this posed scene, a young suitor bearing flowers approaches a woman seated at her writing desk, with her pen poised in mid-air as she turns to greet him. A leaded glass window opens into her room, providing a natural light source for the photograph's illumination. The mounted corner clock, decorative jar on the desk, and painting on the wall were Rey's everyday household items or objects borrowed from friends, carefully chosen for period accuracy. Likewise, a seamstress who lived in the attic of Rey's home in Turin created the costumes to his specifications.

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