Description of the painting by Jan Vermeer “A girl reading a letter at an open window”

Description of the painting by Jan Vermeer A girl reading a letter at an open window

Jan Vermeer – artist from the Netherlands, master of genre portrait and household painting. About his life is almost unknown, most of the biography is based on assumptions. Despite this, he is judged by the paintings and is called one of the great masters of the golden age of Dutch art. He had no pupils, he had a family and colors. In the pictures he depicted the life that he saw around him. “The girl reading the letter at the open window” is full of details. The table is covered with a veil in picturesque folds. The window is decorated with a decorative lattice with a simple pattern. A faint light falls into the room – a cloudy day, spring or summer – a red curtain is thrown to the side, fruits are scattered on the table.

A girl – young, hardly older than twenty – with a complicated hairstyle, reads a letter, bringing it to the light. Her face is focused and a little sad, as if the letter says something that grieves her. Perhaps the lover will not be able to come on a date. Or he is sick and she worries about him. It remains only to assume, but the picture itself breathes peace and gentle sadness. However, on the symbolic side, apples and peaches falling out of the cup signify the fall of Adam and Eve, and the open window is the desire to break free, to change, to find freedom. Perhaps the girl is really not sad, but makes a decision – not to run away with her beloved, not to leave him with the house. Or everything is simpler and you just want to lie with him somewhere in the tall grasses, escaping from the custody of the parents.

The fact that the letter came precisely from a loved one, and not from parents or a girlfriend, is also indicated by the fact that behind the curtain in the earlier version there was a cupid, which later was an artist pulled and hidden. However, the main message has not changed. Love is eternal and the oceans of passions can sometimes hide behind human faces. A girl is reading a letter by the window. And about whom she reads, we can only guess.

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