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1. December 2019

Come in!

1. December 2019 Katharina

Hello, good to see you. Today, we are going to compare two paintings – ‘Corridor’ by Irena Kononova and ‘Interior Strandgade 30’ by Vilhelm Hammershøi. Old meets new art.

Meeting Point

Sometimes we detect in art something that reminds us of our own life. This happened to me with the open doors in Irena Konova’s and Vilhelm Hammershøi’s paintings.

I realised that I prefer to have the doors shut in our flat. Only when my daughter is in another room, do I like them to be open. How is it with you?

A Corridor, Irena Kononova

Opened and closed doors, two gestures. With them we can express our needs, for solitude or company. The two paintings from today tell us more about this. Let us take a look at them with the following questions.

  1. What do we see?
  2. What is the role of the opened door?
  3. Figures in the painting – what do they signify?

What do we see?

In Irena Kononova ‘s painting a corridor leads to an open door. Light comes in. It nearly seems as if the door opens for this light.

Interior Strandgade 30, Vilhelm Hammershøi, 1901, Städel Museum, Frankfurt

We also encounter opened doors in the painting by Vilhelm Hammershøi. This painting stems from 1901 and gives us an insight into a rather barren flat.

There are just a few pieces of furniture. All the more, the doors in the front room appear more dominant. In the room behind, we detect Hammershøi’s wife, Ida. She has turned her back towards us.

What is the role of the opened door?

What do the opened doors in Hammershøi’s painting do with us? Yes, they guide us through the flat, to a particular point. And the vertical planks on the floor support this. Together, they lead to Ida.

A Corridor, Irena Kononova

Opened doors as a guide, a guide to someone. Do we find this also in Irena Kononova’s painting? How does the open door appear here to you?

At first, I thought the door leads us to the outside, to the source of the warm light. But then, could it not also be the other way around? Someone from the outside is guided to us. The door is open and someone can enter. Just as the light has already entered.

Figures in the painting – what do they signify?

An open door is an invitation to go to someone. As for example to Hammershøi’s wife Ida or to us in real life when we leave the door open in our flat.

Because we see Hammershøi’s wife in the painting, we know where we have to go to with our eyes. With Irena Kononova’s painting it is different, no one is there. And that is why we as viewers are not only the visitors. We are also those whom the visitor could meet when coming into the door.

With or without figures, these two paintings remind us of what an open door implies:

‘You want to come into my life, the door is open. You want to get out of my life, the door is open. Just one request. Don’t stand in the door, you’re blocking the traffic’ (Unknown)


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