“A glass of wine,” Jan Vermeer – a description of the picture

“A glass of wine,” Jan Vermeer – a description of the picture
“A glass of wine,” Jan Vermeer - a description of the picture - 1

  • Posted by Jan Vermeer
  • Museum: Berlin Art Gallery
  • Year: 1658-1660

Description of the picture :

A glass of wine is Jan Vermeer. Oil on canvas. 66 cm x 76 cm

   “A glass of wine” is a canvas commissioned by the rich patron and patron saint Van Ruyven and is a classic Delft school of painting. An impeccable picture shows the flourishing and maturity of the talent of the young painter Jan Vermeer.

   Perhaps in the plot someone will find a resemblance to the work of the “Dutch Yard” of the famous Peter de Hoch, where there is also a girl drinking from a glass. But Vermeer is becoming more aristocratic, sophisticated and mysterious.

   This is expressed in the interior. Despite the laconicity of the situation, it is rich and sophisticated: the table is covered with a tapestry with bright patterns; on a chair with the head of a lion and a bench with carved legs lie pads with velvet upholstery of ultramarin and a musical instrument; on the wall is a picture in a gilded frame; magnificent stained glass window on a side window.

   The geometry of the chess tiles of the floor deepens and creates the right perspective, emphasizing the two main figures in the center of the composition.

   Hero clothing is also elegant and luxurious. The coral fabric of the beauty’s dress is poured with satin gloss and finished with golden braid. The young man is impostorant and elegant in his broadband hat and gray-green cloak, from which the snow-white sleeves of a wealthy nobleman are visible. The girl is finishing a glass of wine, and the man is ready to pour it from a white jug.

What is this picture about?

   About courtship, about love, love and…about Christian virtue. Yes, Ian Vermeer would not have been to them if he had not encrypted meaning in his work using symbols and allegories.

   In the painting of the 17th century, images of certain objects were adopted that could convey to people the necessary understanding of the topic, personified abstract concepts, for example – knowledge, faith, stupidity, vices, virtues and more.

   So, a musical instrument (possibly lute), depicted by the author, involves the consonant souls and love of young people, but also, this means temptation.

   The precautionary notes are crumpled notes thrown on the table. They deciphered as an unattainable happiness and harmony between lovers.

   And, of course, the allegory of moderation (or sobriety), which the author located directly opposite the girl, is in the form of an image of a figure on a window stained glass. It is designed to help a girl gain rationality and return to a righteous life.

   All these symbols serve to recall the main Christian virtues – modesty, prudence, chastity. No wonder Vermeer is called a mystery artist and we wonder how many more secrets and secrets his creations keep.