The Beauty of Reading
A Young Girl Reading, Jean-Honoré Fragonard, 1776
American Girl Reading, George Cochran Lambdin, 1872
Girl Reading, Franz Eybl, 1850
Girl Reading or In the Orangery, by Charles Perugini
Reading by Lamplight, Delphin Enjolras
Young Woman Reading By A Window, Delphin Enjolras
Those are only a handful of some beautiful paintings featuring women reading. The reading is pictured as a quiet, intimate act; hands reach for the neck and the chest, shoulders are denuded. They sit by the window or by the lamp, the light playing beautifully with the textures and lighting the softness of the skin. There is something beautiful about their concentration, but also something very personal, as if we were witnessing something we shouldn’t be.
I love paintings featuring reading and writing – not only because I love both art and books, but mainly for this intimate feeling. Vermeer also painted some beautiful scenes of women writing and reading letters, and those are among my favorite paintings. Hopefully you enjoy this too.