vrijdag 26 augustus 2011

A Lady and two Gentlemen (1662)

Braunschweig, Herzog Anton Ulrich Museum / www.haum.niedersachsen.de

A young woman wearing an elegant red dress is seated in the foreground turned toward the left and looking half-smilingly at the viewer. It is one of the rare instances when Vermeer animates one of his figures with a semblance of expression. She seems to be courted by a fine gentleman, bent over and encouraging the young lady to take a sip from the wine glass that she holds in her hand.

Farther back, another gentleman sits behind a table featuring an exquisitely painted still life of a silver plate, fruit, and white pitcher. The second male figure sits in a pose reminiscent of the Girl Asleep, apparently befuddled by too much wine.

The painting has been overcleaned, the last time in 1900, and the sitting man in the background was overpainted during the eighteenth century, as comes out of the descriptions of 1744 and 1776. The room where the artist placed the composition resembles others frequently used by him. Patterns, windows, and walls reappear with minor changes. In this respect, Vermeer did not show much originality. His mastery resides in the delicacy of the execution, the use of light, and the grouping of his figures.

More information about Vermeers paintings


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