A Young Woman Seated at a Virginal Vermeer Buy Art Prints Now
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Tom Gurney BSc (Hons) is an art history expert with over 20 years experience
Published on June 19, 2020 / Updated on October 14, 2023
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The captivating artwork of 17th century Dutch painter Johannes Vermeer manifests a transitional period within the artist's artwork through works such A Young Woman Seated at a Virginal.

The artwork was conceived near the end of the artist's career as he transitions his work into different angles for a viewpoint. The painting illustrates the classic interior setting in which most of the artist's paintings were based in the familiar white and black tiled floor matches the light source emitted from the left side of the canvas.

The brilliant artwork illustrates a young woman as she is seated in front of a piano with her hands lightly gracing the keyboard.

As the woman is seated, she lightly turns her body toward the artist as she catches the gaze of the viewer. The altered angle at which the woman is presented reveals her acknowledgement that she is in fact being painter.

Vermeer commonly enjoyed showcasing glimpses into the society at the time rather than posing natural occurrences to be painted. However, based on the position of the woman, the muse acknowledges the presence of both the artist and viewer as she smiles in their direction.

The woman lightly emits a light smile that sweeps across her face while her dominant gestures seeks the attention of the viewer. The woman is dressed in a wealthy blue and white dress with small gold linings adding to the complexity of the piece. The artist showcased an array of ruffles and added effect throughout the dress to illustrate its life.

The artwork seems to be the second matching painting to Vermeer's other work Young Woman Standing at a Virginal. The painting reveals the same woman in the same setting as she poses in front of the virginal looking towards the viewer. These paintings carrying a similar theme as a prominent occurrence throughout Vermeer's work as he often reused clothing, settings and decor.

The clothing in which a woman is dressed in often acts as a signature element within Vermeer's work as his most popular paintings illustrate a woman in a light yellow dress with a white fur trimming as evident within Mistress and Maid, A Lady Writing, and Woman with a Pearl Necklace.

These paintings uncover the signature dress often depicted in the artist's work as the light colour acts as a welcoming focal point. The young woman's hair gently curls around the side as it covers the woman's face, framing her Dutch features as all the models in Vermeer's work held.

Behind the woman, the viewer is able to witness a renaissance painting that hands above the wall. The artist was known for popularly depicting these images as decorating pieces to add drama to the artwork.

The viewer is able to witness a woman with two men in the image, however the woman's face is not completed. The interior of the piano illustrated a painted surface depicting a landscape filled with trees and greenery.

A multi coloured drape hangs to the left as the painting as it is covered in bright shades with small imagery depicted through the textile. These classic accessories throughout the painting add to the significance of the work while drawing the viewer's attention towards an array of different forms.