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The Cover
February 14, 2001

Still Life, Hydrangeas

Author Affiliations

The Cover Section Editor: M. Therese Southgate, MD, Senior Contributing Editor.

JAMA. 2001;285(6):699. doi:10.1001/jama.285.6.699

Like Vermeer and Chardin before him, Edouard Vuillard (1868-1940) painted domestic interiors, but he gave them an Impressionist fillip: Vuillard is Vermeer seen through a Monet lens. Proustian in their remembered detail, the paintings are redolent of madeleines and overheard conversations. Vuillard's style was called, appropriately enough, intimisme. It is a whispered intimacy: did we actually hear what we thought we heard? Or is it our imagination working overtime? Did we perhaps hear nothing beyond a few wayward sibilants? Or have we unwittingly trespassed on someone's privacy? Is it wrong to try to hear more? Dare we violate another's secrets? Their soul? Only the virtuous or the dead can walk away from such a temptation.

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