detail of woman detail of virginal detail of chair detail of painting

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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

Although the thematic framework for Vermeer's late genre paintings remained rooted in scenes drawn from everyday life, his narrative approach is also more direct, and his admonitory tone less psychologically nuanced. Here, the woman has turned away from the virginal and stares purposefully out at the viewer. The musical instrument she plays had a traditional association with the purity of love. This same sentiment is reinforced by the image of Cupid holding aloft a card, which is based on a well-known emblem from Otto van Veen's Amorum Emblemata, 1608, that states a "lover ought to love only one".

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

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