“Allegory of Faith,” Jan Vermeer, is a description of the picture
- Posted by Jan Vermeer
- Museum: Metropolitan Museum
- Year: Around 1670
Description of the picture :
Allegoria of Faith – Jan Vermeer Delft. Oil on canvas. 114.3×88.9
The picture, which differs from other works of the artist in unusually large sizes, contains an unambiguous symbolic message. A richly expanded curtain located on the foreground, similar to a trellis, introduces the viewer into the scene, displaying the embodiment of Faith. It is surrounded by symbolic attributes gleaned in the famous book of Cesare Ripa “Iconology”, translated in the middle of the XVII century. in Dutch. White and blue are the obvious personification of purity and truth. A hand pressed to the chest indicates the depth of faith emanating from the heart itself. On the wall there is a reproduction of the painting by the Antwerp painter Jacob Yordans “Crucifixion”, which further convincingly emphasizes the significance of the scene.
It is interesting that the picture depicted on the canvas was the property of Vermeer and was mentioned in the inventory of the artist’s property compiled after his death. The constraint of the composition and more rigorous color appear in the later works of the artist. They are accompanied by a noticeable influence of classical concepts, which gradually spread in the Dutch art of that era. It cannot be ruled out that the canvas was written on order.
The crucifixion, cup and Bible, placed on a table located next to the girl, emphasize the fundamental role in the Catholic religion of the sacrament of the Eucharist and the sacrifice of Christ. Counter-reform, especially in open debate with the doctrine of Protestantism, concerning symbolic value, imputed bread and guilt, recognized the Communion as a special role.
According to the Christian tradition, the apple lying at the feet of Vera represents a forbidden fruit from the Garden of Eva, a sophisticated serpent, and therefore has become a symbol of the fall of man and mortal sin. In fact, the Holy Scriptures do not say what kind the tree of knowledge belonged to. But the Latin word malum means both male (“evil”) and malus (“apple tree”), it follows that the tree should be an apple tree.