"Vermeer's Masterpiece The Milkmaid" Exhibition

The Metropolitan Museum of Art

poster for "Vermeer's Masterpiece The Milkmaid" Exhibition

This event has ended.

The Milkmaid was painted by Johannes Vermeer in about 1657–58. It may be considered one of the last works of the artist's early, formative years, during which he adopted various subjects and styles from other painters and at the same time introduced effects based on direct observation and an unusually refined artistic sensibility.

Influenced by the detailed realism of Gerrit Dou (1613–1675) and his followers in Leiden, Vermeer created his most illusionistic image in The Milkmaid. To modern viewers the picture may resemble a photograph. However, the composition is exquisitely designed, as is evident from several revisions made in the course of execution and from subtle relationships of light and shadow, color, contours, and shapes. A low vantage point and a pyramidal buildup of forms from the left foreground to the woman's head lend the figure monumentality and perhaps a sense of dignity. And yet, like milkmaids and kitchen maids in earlier Netherlandish art, and like other young women in Vermeer's oeuvre, this figure was meant to attract the male viewer and to have her own thoughts of romance.



from September 10, 2009 to November 29, 2009

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