Stephen Fry (after Vermeer, 1670)

Details

Unframed
81 x 81 cm / 32" x 32"

Framed
102 x 101 cm / 40" x 40"

Oil on board
2010
Signed lower left

Collection, The Artist

Description

English actor, writer, comedian and television presenter, Stephen Fry is supremely suited for Watson's painting, which explores the subjects of communication and social media. The Prince of Twitter engages us as he holds his iPad in this superb painting which references Vermeer's 'Mistress and Maid', and evokes the changes in methods of communication over the centuries.

Fry looks up at us, as if distracted from the details on his illuminated screen, in a scene of dramatic tension between the mistress and maid. The subject of writing and receiving letters recurs frequently in Vermeer's work, as does the theme of communication and social media in Watson's art.

We are reminded here of the dramatic changes in the way we communicate since Vermeer's 17th century - issues of privacy, and the positive and negative effects of social media. The young mistress may have waited six weeks to receive the letter which almost certainly was read by her alone. In the most extraordinary contrast, Stephen Fry's four million plus Twitter followers enjoy the benefit of his regular, informative and instant tweets.

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