“Laceman”, Jan Vermeer – a description of the picture

“Laceman”, Jan Vermeer – a description of the picture
"Laceman", Jan Vermeer - a description of the picture - 1

  • Posted by Jan Vermeer
  • Museum: Louvre
  • Year: 1670

Description of the picture :

Lace – Jan Vermeer. Oil on canvas. 24 x 21 cm

   “Laceman” is the smallest in size, but not at all the same in execution, the picture of the Dutchman Jan Vermeer. This canvas is not quite usual for his work and therefore stands out from all the artist’s works. Despite the fact that the image of the Dutch needlewomen is a rather popular plot of that time, Vermeer has his own vision of the content and work process.

   Against the background of a completely white wall, leaning over weaving, a girl sits. She is wearing a yellow dress, a snow-white collar. Smooth, neatly laid hair. The face is down, but you can see his calm and concentration at the same time. Nearby lies a book, most likely the Bible, cladding with expensive fabric.

   All these signs, like needlework itself, indicate that the girl is virtuous, modest and hardworking. She feels that she is doing work with pleasure and love. She is all absorbed in her occupation – weaving lace. In the hands of her pertussis, with the help of which the famous Dutch lace, known throughout the world, was created.

   It can be assumed that the lace is not at all a servant, but a mistress or a master daughter. Since in the 17th century weaving lace was a fashionable and profitable business, girls and girls were taught this skill from an early age, and they could even provide themselves with such a craft. After all, it was laceously appreciated by the weight of gold (in the literal sense of the word) and was quite equated with art requiring fantasy, perseverance and dexterity from the performer.

   And the weaving table was an expensive and not quite simple design – it was a device with a countertop in the form of a triangle that could be adjusted for the convenience of sewing.

What is the unusual nature of this picture of Vermeer?

   And the fact that the author considers the girl at work a little from the bottom up. As a result, the front, as if blurry edge of the picture with fuzzy threads on the tapestry tablecloth gradually goes into a clear image of the whooping cough, lying book, pillow for needles, fingers of the girl holding objects and the lace itself. That is, in the Baroque era, Vermeer used focus and such a peculiar way used in optics as the depth of field in the picture “Lace”.

   Perhaps, and even most likely, the painter used a pinhole camera, this simplest device with which you can get optical images of objects. But this does not detract from the talent and genius of the artist Vermeer. Indeed, thanks to his such scientific approach to painting, the viewer sees a living, very realistic, as they would say now – “3D image of the subject”.