“Love letter,” Jan Vermeer – a description of the picture

“Love letter,” Jan Vermeer – a description of the picture
“Love letter,” Jan Vermeer - a description of the picture - 1

  • Posted by Jan Vermeer
  • Museum: Reyksmuseum
  • Year: 1667-1670

Description of the picture :

Love letter – Jan Vermeer. Oil on canvas. 44 x 38.5 cm

   As soon as this Dutch painter is not called – both a mystery artist, and an artist of love, and a genius of “golden time” of Dutch painting. All these epithets to Jan Vermeer, a truly unique creator of the 17th century. Each of his famous 34 works is admirable, controversial, and discussed. The famous picture “Love Letter” also did not escape this fate.

   A canvas is written approximately from 1667 to 1670. It differs from other works in its compositional structure, the presence of allegories, is saturated with ambiguities, “keys” that must be selected in order to understand the true purpose of the author. Immediately, what you pay attention to is an unusual construction, as if “a picture in a picture”, as if the author, passing by the room, looked inside, saw a piece of another’s life and captured it.

   An observer’s eyes open a bright room with two young women – a mistress holding a lute in her hands, and a maid who has just transmitted a letter. The message is most likely a love one, judging by the look of a seated woman – he is interrogative and still doubting – “is this the news that she was waiting for?”.

   The servant’s satisfied face confirms her guess. For the sake of this letter, she threw her cleaning duties at home. This is evidenced by the broom in the foreground, and abandoned things, and crumbling notes.

   But Ian Vermeer cannot be in the plot so easily. In the picture, love allegories are “encrypted”.

   Lutnya is a classic tool of lovers, an attribute of gentle and romantic feelings, a symbol of love, adopted in the 17th century. Pictures behind the heroines, depicting a sailboat and the edge of a forest with a lonely traveler, symbolize separation and variability in love, by analogy with a fickle sea.

   In addition, it turns out that such simple objects as slippers and brooms, which serve in the picture as the boundary between the observer and what happens in the room, have their own meaning and meaning. So, home shoes in Dutch art belong to an erotic symbol, and brooms to relationships without marriage. In Holland, there is still an expression of marrying a broom. From all this, a picture of intimacy, secrecy and conspiratorialism is added.

   And the freshness of the colors, Vermeer’s favorite ultramarin, the subtle nuances of light and shadows, the painted interior, bright floor in a cage create a magnificent scene with love writing, turn a personal moment of life into a masterpiece of world art.

   What unusual and attractive the great artist Jan Vermeer is that each of the audience, given the allegory, can “think” the plot itself and “add” the story of the heroines of the picture.