“Mistress and maid,” Jan Vermeer – a description of the picture

“Mistress and maid,” Jan Vermeer – a description of the picture
“Mistress and maid,” Jan Vermeer - a description of the picture - 1

  • Posted by Jan Vermeer
  • Museum: Frick Collection, New York
  • Year: 1667

Description of the picture :

Mistress and maid – Jan Vermeer. Oil on canvas. 90.2 x 78.7 cm
   Ian Vermeer is a famous Dutch artist whose work fell on the XVII century, recognized in the Netherlands as gold. The artist in the everyday genre and landscapes, where he was an unsurpassed master, was especially distinguished.

   The genre of work is household. It seems as if the artist had spied this scene and decided to secretly depict such a serious moment.

   The canvas presents a tense psychological scene between two women, namely between the mistress and the maid. Vermeer tried to convey the emotions of excitement, a heated discussion of some important letter. We are presented with a lively dialogue, so the composition creates a sense of dynamics.

   The work is done very efficiently, the smallest details are carefully prescribed using a harmonious combination of shades, which adds realism to the product.

   The gesture of the mistress sitting at the table means some thoughtfulness, and the look is aimed at the maid. The lady’s expression is exciting, surprised. Although we are presented only with her profile, it is clear that this lady is a static, with an elegant and complex hairstyle decorated with pearls. She has a pen in her hand, which may well mean that she wrote a message.

   Also, much attention was focused on the dark background in the picture. He adds drama and tension to the work, so he plays an important role in composition.

   As far as is known, the curtain was originally saturated green, but over time the color faded. Many believe that the author painted over the background in order to focus on the depicted scene, as well as to highlight the cloak on the woman. This is not the first time a bright yellow cloak has been found in Vermeer’s work, but it has been written very carefully, with naturally drawn folds.

   For the maid, Vermeer used dark and dim colors. She has a modest dress with a shirt, which looks very contrasting and poor against the background of the mistress. Women exchanged some important and secret information that shocking both. But what kind of plot really is fraught with the picture remains only to guess.