The oft trotted proverb goes: good artists borrow; great artists steal.

Whether it was T. S. Eliot or Picasso who provided this sentiment and regardless of any inherent merit, this has become a prima apologia for shitty artists the world over.

With its focus on a scene unfolding in a room lit from frame left, this image ostensibly borrows from Vermeer. Yet, unlike Vermeer—whose canvases present their subjects en media res: reading the final lines of a letter, pouring milk—this woman actions are ambiguous, her pose highly contrived in an effort to appear natural; however, consider what situation might require her to so pull her gown up around her shoulders and face away from a readily available mirror in order to stare down at her nude body?

I would be very surprised if the individual responsible for this image was unfamiliar with Vermeer. However, borrowing here from Vermeer is like asking a friend to lend you a designer sweater to wear with your new backless red dress. 

The theft that does work is from an artist I would wager is unknown to the image maker: VelázquezLas Meninas specifically

Mirrors have a way of fucking with subjectivity. Velázquez depicts the subject—that is, the king and queen—only in a faint reflection; the scene instead focuses on the artist—presumably Velázquez himself—painting. At the same time, note the painter is considering both his subject and we the spectators.

The mirroring in the image above is less complicated but does produce, if accidentally, an interesting effect. By angling the camera so it views the reflection without being itself reflected, as well as the inclusion of the reflection of the young woman’s face reflected from a smaller mirror along the so-called fourth wall gives the room an implicit dimensionality. An implicit dimensionality that, in effect, deletes the physical presence of the camera from the scene; muddling matters of subject/object, observer/observed along with the questions of exhibitionism and voyeurism accompanying them.

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