Lady at a Spinet by Vermeer

THIS is a late work, "tight" in handling, more meticulous in detail. The room is bathed in atmosphere; color is subdued and harmonious. It is genre painting at the level of highest perfection.

Vermeer is par excellence a painter's painter. As a craftsman he has never been surpassed. And no other painter has so beautifully and correctly organized color in terms of light. Vermeer, unlike Ter Borch and De Hooch, was not interested in the superficial, flashy sheen of textures. He studied the effects of light, captured the play of it upon colored surfaces existing in space and atmosphere, and by painting deliberately and scientifically in the mode of the total visual effect, achieved tonal harmony and richness and delicacy that have never been equaled. His paintings are small and unpretentious; their limitations are acknowledged. They possess the quiet beauty, dignity, and lucidity of well-fashioned gems, and are among the most precious things we have in oils.

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