detail of face detail of hands detail of table detail of globe detail of wall detail of 

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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 Geographer
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

The many compositional and thematic relationships between The Geographer and The Astronomer indicate that Vermeer conceived these works as pendants. One senses in the scholars' purposeful expressions as they lean forward, with one hand firmly grasping a solid support, the excitement of intellectual inquiry as their inquisitive minds actively search for answers to questions they have posed about the earth and the stars.

The inquiries of the geographer-the study of the earth-and the astronomer-the study of the stars-concerned two closely allied scientific realms, both of which were of great practical use in navigation, a concern important to the Dutch. Vermeer emphasized the interrelatedness of the paintings by depicted terrestrial and celestial globes that the mapmaker Jodocus Hondius published as a pair in 1618.

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

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