detail of face detail of balance detail of jewels detail of light

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St Praxedis Christ in the House of Martha and Mary Diana and Her Companions Procuress Woman Asleep Girl Reading a Letter at an Open Window Little Street
Officer and Laughing Girl Milkmaid Glass of Wine Girl with Wineglass Girl Interrupted at Her Music View of Delft Music Lesson
Woman in Blue Woman Holding a Balance Young Woman with a Water Pitcher Woman with a Lute Woman with a Pearl Necklace A Lady Writing Girl with a Pearl Earring
Concert Girl with the Red Hat Art of Painting Mistress and Maid Portrait of Young Woman The Geographer The Astronomer
Lacemaker Guitar Player Love Letter Lady Writing a Letter with Her Maid Allegory of Faith A Lady Standing at the Virginal Lady Seated at the Virginal

Vermeer's unusual sensitivity to light enhances both the physical and the psychological reality of his scenes. Nowhere in his oeuvre is his mastery more evident than in this dimly lit interior, where a young woman stands serenely waiting for her balance to come to rest. For example, he has recorded how light passes by the orange curtain hanging before the window, noting that it filters through the edges of the curtain to create a subtle glow on the gray wall behind. He then used light to focus on significant compositional elements in the painting: the jewelry box on the table with its strands of gold beads and pearls; the fingers of the woman's poised right hand; and the scale she holds.

Excerpt taken from Vermeer: The Complete Works
by Arthur K. Wheelock Jr

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