Vermeer's painting is one of the rare examples of a maid treated in an empathetic and dignified way,  although amorous symbols in this work still exemplify the tradition. Narrative and thematic elements[ edit ] According to art historian Harry Rand, the painting suggests the woman is making bread pudding , which would account for the milk and the broken pieces of bread on the table. She is not the cartoonish buxom vixen in Leyden's drawing.
Along with the ultramarine, lead-tin-yellow is also a dominant color in an exceptionally luminous work with a much less somber and conventional rendering of light than any of Vermeer's previous extant works. The glazing helps suggest that the blue material is a less coarse fabric than the yellow bodice, according to Cant. The Art of Painting", and it was part of the "Vermeer and the Delft School" exhibition at the National Gallery , London from June 20 to September 16, it did not appear at the Metropolitan Museum of Art venue of that exhibition, earlier that year. In spite of the sometimes crippling depression that haunted him and the ups and downs of the mid-life writer, he would finally achieve overwhelming success with Clara Callan, the Giller-winning work that swept every award in Canada and revitalized his career. The small roll at the far right has thick impastoed dots that resemble a knobbly crust or a crust with seeds on it. Vermeer's painting is one of the rare examples of a maid treated in an empathetic and dignified way,  although amorous symbols in this work still exemplify the tradition. Yet the whitewashed wall and presence of milk seem to indicate that the room was a "cool kitchen" used for cooking with dairy products, such as milk and butter, so the foot warmer would have a pragmatic purpose there. During the war, the work was also displayed at The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, where it was hanging as late as , according to Leidtke. Soft parts of the bread are rendered with thin swirls of paint, with dabs of ochre used to show the rough edges of broken crust. Already in the 18th century, English painter and critic Joshua Reynolds praised the work for its striking quality. And our reaction is 'What is she thinking? Other Vermeer paintings also have images removed. However by this time there was an alternative convention of painting women at work in the home as exemplars of Dutch domestic virtue, dealt with at length by Simon Schama. Narrative and thematic elements[ edit ] According to art historian Harry Rand, the painting suggests the woman is making bread pudding , which would account for the milk and the broken pieces of bread on the table. The painting was first owned by and may have been painted for Pieter van Ruijven, owner of several other paintings by Vermeer which also depicted attractive young women and with themes of desire and self-denial quite different from the attitude of Pepys and many of the paintings in the Dutch "kitchenmaid" tradition. Liedtke doubts that the patron ordered the subject matter. Here the white walls reflect the daylight with different intensities, displaying the effects of uneven textures on the plastered surfaces. Intense light streams from the window on the left side of the canvas. Since other Dutch paintings of the period indicate that foot warmers were used when seated, its presence in the picture may symbolize the standing woman's "hardworking nature", according to Cant. Pieter van Ruijven — , Vermeer's patron in Delft and, at his death, the owner of twenty-one of the painter's works , probably bought the painting directly from the artist. Rand assumed she would have already made custard in which the bread mixed with egg would be soaking at the moment depicted in the painting. During this time it was displayed at the Detroit Institute of Arts in Michigan the museum where the curator of the World's Fair exhibit was working , and was included in that museum's exhibition catalogues in and The foot warmer was often used by artists as a symbol for female sexual arousal because, when placed under a skirt, it heats the whole body below the waist, according to Liedtke. Broad strokes in the painting of the clothing suggests coarse, thick texture of the work clothing. She is not an apparition or abstraction.
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