Lady Seated at a Virginal

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Lady Seated at a Virginal
Lady Seated at a Virginal, Vermeer, The National Gallery, London.jpg
Artist Johannes Vermeer
Year c. 1670–72 [1]
Medium Oil on canvas
Dimensions 51.5 cm× 45.5 cm(20.3 in× 17.9 in) [1]
Location National Gallery, London

Lady Seated at a Virginal, also known as Young Woman Seated at a Virginal, is a genre painting created by Dutch artist Johannes Vermeer in about 1670–72 and now in the National Gallery, London. [2]

Genre painting paintings of scenes or events from everyday life

Genre painting, also called petit genre, depicts aspects of everyday life by portraying ordinary people engaged in common activities. One common definition of a genre scene is that it shows figures to whom no identity can be attached either individually or collectively—thus distinguishing petit genre from history paintings and portraits. A work would often be considered as a genre work even if it could be shown that the artist had used a known person—a member of his family, say—as a model. In this case it would depend on whether the work was likely to have been intended by the artist to be perceived as a portrait—sometimes a subjective question. The depictions can be realistic, imagined, or romanticized by the artist. Because of their familiar and frequently sentimental subject matter, genre paintings have often proven popular with the bourgeoisie, or middle class.

Johannes Vermeer 17th-century Dutch painter

Johannes Vermeer was a Dutch Baroque Period painter who specialized in domestic interior scenes of middle-class life. He was a moderately successful provincial genre painter in his lifetime but evidently was not wealthy, leaving his wife and children in debt at his death, perhaps because he produced relatively few paintings.

National Gallery Art museum in London

The National Gallery is an art museum in Trafalgar Square in the City of Westminster, in Central London. Founded in 1824, it houses a collection of over 2,300 paintings dating from the mid-13th century to 1900.

Contents

Lady Seated at a Virginal

Another painting, probably also by Johannes Vermeer known as A Young Woman Seated at the Virginals , belongs to a private collection shows also a young woman seated at a Virginal. This painting and Lady Seated at a Virginal are quite separate works and are each known by alternate names and confusion between those two pieces may exist.

<i>A Young Woman Seated at the Virginals</i> paiting by Johannes Vermeer

A Young Woman Seated at the Virginals is a painting generally attributed to Johannes Vermeer, though this was for a long time widely questioned. A series of technical examinations from 1993 onwards confirmed the attribution. It is thought to date from c.1670 and is now in part of the Leiden Collection in New York. It should not be confused with Young Woman Seated at a Virginal in the National Gallery, London, also by Vermeer.

Description

The picture shows a woman facing left and playing a virginal. In the left foreground is a viola da gamba holding a bow between its strings. [2] A landscape is painted on the inside lid of the virginal, and the painting on the wall is either the original or a copy of The Procuress by Dirck van Baburen (now in the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston), which belonged to Vermeer's mother-in-law. [2]

<i>The Procuress</i> (Dirck van Baburen) number of similar paintings by the Dutch Golden Age painter Dirck van Baburen

The Procuress is the name given to a number of similar paintings by the Dutch Golden Age painter Dirck van Baburen. The painting is in the Caravaggiesque style of the Utrecht school.

Dirck van Baburen Dutch painter

Dirck Jaspersz. van Baburen was a Dutch painter and one of the Utrecht Caravaggisti.

Museum of Fine Arts, Boston Art museum in Boston, MA

The Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, Massachusetts, is the fifth largest museum in the United States. It contains more than 450,000 works of art, making it one of the most comprehensive collections in the Americas. With more than one million visitors a year, it is the 60th most-visited art museum in the world as of 2017.

Commentary

Because of its style, the painting has been dated to about 1670. It has been suggested that it and Lady Standing at a Virginal (also owned by the National Gallery) may have been created as pendants, because their sizes, date and subject matter are all similar. A recent study has shown that the canvas for the two paintings came from the same bolt. [3] In addition, the ground applied to the canvas appears identical to that used for both the Lady Standing and the New York Young Woman Seated . [4] However their provenances before the 19th century differ, and Vermeer sometimes varied a theme in otherwise unrelated paintings. In the 19th century, both paintings were owned by the art critic Théophile Thoré, whose writings led to a resurgence of interest in Vermeer starting in 1866. The painting entered the National Gallery with the Salting Bequest in 1910. [2]

<i>Lady Standing at a Virginal</i> 1670 painting by Johannes Vermeer

Lady Standing at a Virginal is a genre painting created by the Dutch artist Johannes Vermeer in about 1670–1672, now in the National Gallery, London.

Canvas Extremely heavy-duty plain-woven fabric

A canvas is an extremely durable plain-woven fabric used for making sails, tents, marquees, backpacks, and other items for which sturdiness is required, as well as in such fashion objects as handbags, electronic device cases, and shoes. It is also popularly used by artists as a painting surface, typically stretched across a wooden frame.

Provenance Chronology of the ownership, custody or location of a historical object

Provenance is the chronology of the ownership, custody or location of a historical object. The term was originally mostly used in relation to works of art but is now used in similar senses in a wide range of fields, including archaeology, paleontology, archives, manuscripts, printed books and science and computing. The primary purpose of tracing the provenance of an object or entity is normally to provide contextual and circumstantial evidence for its original production or discovery, by establishing, as far as practicable, its later history, especially the sequences of its formal ownership, custody and places of storage. The practice has a particular value in helping authenticate objects. Comparative techniques, expert opinions and the results of scientific tests may also be used to these ends, but establishing provenance is essentially a matter of documentation. The term dates to the 1780s in English. Provenance is conceptually comparable to the legal term chain of custody.

The painting is one of several works by Vermeer featuring keyboard instruments, including The Music Lesson , The Concert , and Lady Standing at a Virginal . Scholars believe these may all be based on the same instrument, built by Johannes Ruckers. [5] [6]

<i>The Music Lesson</i> 1662-1665 painting by Jan Vermeer

The Music Lesson, Woman Seated at a Virginal or A Lady at the Virginals with a Gentleman by Johannes Vermeer is a painting of a young female pupil receiving a music lesson from a man. The man's mouth is slightly agape giving the impression that he is singing along with the music that the young girl is playing. This suggests that there is a relationship between the two figures and the idea of love and music being bridged together. This was a common theme among Netherlandish art in this time period. Vermeer uses linear perspective and his invention of the camera pictura to create the illusion of space and depth within the setting of the painted room. Vermeer consistently used the same objects within his paintings such as the draped rug, the white water jug, various instruments, tiled floor and windows that convey light and shadows. This is one of few paintings produced by Vermeer which were kept in his home until his death in 1675 when his family was forced to sell them. It became a part of the Royal Collection, and it is currently on display in the Picture Gallery at Buckingham Palace in London.

<i>The Concert</i> (Vermeer) stolen painting by Johannes Vermeer

The Concert is a painting by Dutchman Johannes Vermeer depicting a man and two women performing music. It belonged to the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston, but was stolen in 1990 and remains missing.

See also

Dutch Golden Age painting

Dutch Golden Age painting is the painting of the Dutch Golden Age, a period in Dutch history roughly spanning the 17th century, during and after the later part of the Eighty Years' War (1568–1648) for Dutch independence.

Related Research Articles

Pieter de Hooch Dutch Golden Age painter

Pieter de Hooch was a Dutch Golden Age painter famous for his genre works of quiet domestic scenes with an open doorway. He was a contemporary of Jan Vermeer in the Delft Guild of St. Luke, with whom his work shares themes and style.

<i>The Little Street</i> painting by Johannes Vermeer

The Little Street is a painting by the Dutch painter Johannes Vermeer, executed c. 1657–58. It is exhibited at the Rijksmuseum of Amsterdam, and signed, below the window in the lower left-hand corner, "I V MEER".

<i>The Milkmaid</i> (Vermeer) 1658 painting by Johannes Vermeer

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<i>A Lady Writing a Letter</i> painting by Johannes Vermeer

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Leonaert Bramer painter from the Northern Netherlands

Leonaert Bramer, also Leendert or Leonard, was a Dutch painter known primarily for genre, religious, and history paintings. Very prolific as a painter and draftsman, he is noted especially for nocturnal scenes which show a penchant for exotic details of costume and setting. He also painted frescos—a rarity north of the Alps—which have not survived, as well as murals on canvas, few of which are extant. Bramer is one of the most intriguing personalities in seventeenth-century Dutch art.

<i>The Wine Glass</i> painting by Johannes Vermeer

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Delft School (painting)

The Delft School is a category of mid-17th-century Dutch Golden Age painting named after its main base, Delft. It is best known for genre painting: images of domestic life, views of households, church interiors, courtyards, squares and the streets of that city. Carel Fabritius and Nicolaes Maes are seen as the originators of these localised specialties in the 1640s that were continued in the 1650s by Pieter de Hooch and Johannes Vermeer. Vermeer is the most famous of these painters today. The architectural interiors of Gerard Houckgeest, Emanuel de Witte and Hendrick Cornelisz. van Vliet are also notable contributions. Besides the genres most closely associated with Delft painters, artists in the city continued to produce still life and history paintings, portraits for patrons and the court, and decorative pieces of art that reflect more general tendencies in Dutch art of the period.

<i>Christ in the House of Martha and Mary</i> (Vermeer) painting by Johannes Vermeer

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<i>Lady Writing a Letter with her Maid</i> 1670-1671 painting by Johannes Vermeer

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<i>The Lacemaker</i> (Vermeer) painting by Johannes Vermeer

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<i>Woman with a Lute</i> 1660s painting of Johannes Vermeer

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<i>Young Woman Seated at a Virginal</i> Disambiguation page providing links to topics that could be referred to by the same search term

Young Woman Seated at a Virginal or A Young Woman Seated at a Virginal are alternate titles for two different works of art, neither of which is a copy of the other, both by Johannes Vermeer:

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<i>The Procuress</i> (Vermeer) painting by Johannes Vermeer

The Procuress is a 1656 oil-on-canvas painting by the 24-year-old Johannes Vermeer. It can be seen in the Gemäldegalerie Alte Meister in Dresden. It is his first genre painting and shows a scene of contemporary life, an image of mercenary love perhaps in a brothel. It differs from his earlier biblical and mythological scenes. It is one of only three paintings Vermeer signed and dated.

References

  1. 1 2 "Key facts: A Young Woman seated at a Virginal". National Gallery (London) web site. Retrieved 20 September 2009.
  2. 1 2 3 4 "A Young Woman Seated at a Virginal". National Gallery, London web site. Retrieved 20 September 2009.
  3. Liedtke, Walter; Johnson, C. Richard, Jr.; Johnson, Don H. "Canvas matches in Vermeer: a case study in the computer analysis of canvas supports" (PDF). Retrieved 5 May 2013.
  4. Sheldon, Libby; Costaras, Nicolas (2006). "Johannes Vermeer's Young Woman Seated at a Virginal". Burlington Magazine. 148: 89–97.
  5. Bennett, William Ralph Jr. The Science of Musical Sound. Springer. p. 82. ISBN   9783319927961.
  6. Huerta, Robert D. (2003). Giants of Delft: Johannes Vermeer and the Natural Philosophers : the Parallel Search for Knowledge During the Age of Discovery. Bucknell University Press. p. 105. ISBN   9780838755389.

Further reading