Johannes Vermeer and Tom Gouws: textual discourse through pen and paint brush

Johannes Vermeer en Tom Gouws: 'n tekstuele diskoers deur pen en penseel

  • Marthinus Beukes Departement Afrikaans, Universiteit van Johannesburg, Posbus 524 Auckland Park 2006, South Africa


The poetic articulation of a painting takes place on the basis of the transposition of the visual text to a word text. In this way interaction between die poem text and visual text come into being. This interaction between poetry and the art of painting is of such a nature that one can speak of the poem as a speaking painting or of the painting as a silent poem. Seen within this frame, it is assumed that the poem helps to fill the painting with additional meaning. The poem's text is therefore an imaging of the content of the painting as a way of visual embodiment. In Vermeer's paintings the composition of the work of art is important regarding perspective, projection and fusion (merger) of an entire cosmos. In the same way the painter captures landscapes and beings in stylistic positions with brush and canvas, the poet makes a poetic painting using a pen as instrument to capture words. The objective of this article is to examine in which way the poem is a capturing or imaging of the painting's symbols. The poem text of Tom Gouws that is explored will be seen as a textual articulation of the painting. Poems such as 'ars poetica' and 'die kantklosser' will be read as speaking paintings of visual texts and visual writing through which an exceptional merger of pen and brush come into being.

Keywords: iconicity, tipography, cohesion, visual text, ars poetica, syntactic chiasm, texture, canto

Journal for Language Teaching Vol. 39(2) 2005: 173-185

Journal Identifiers

eISSN: 0259-9570