Girl asleep at a table – (Jan Vermeer) Previous Next


Artists:

Style: Baroque

Topics: Girls

Technique: Oil

A Girl Asleep, also known as A Woman Asleep, A Woman Asleep at Table, and A Maid Asleep, is a painting by the Dutch master Johannes Vermeer, 1657. It is housed at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City and may not be lent elsewhere under the terms of the donor's bequest. According to Liedtke, the presence of the dog would have alluded to "the sort of impromptu relationships canine suitors strike up on the street." The man and the dog were replaced with a mirror on a far wall, suggesting how the experience of the senses quickly passes, and a chair left at an angle with a pillow on it, possibly signifying indolence, together with a hint of recent company. The idea that she was recently together with someone is reinforced by the wine pitcher, the glass on its side and the possible presence of a knife and fork on the table. The Chinese bowl with fruit is a symbol of temptation, and for a Vermeer contemporary familiar with the symbolism of Dutch art of the time, the knife and jug lying open-mouthed under a gauzy material would have brought to mind more than social intercourse. The painting was very likely owned by Vermeer's patron, Pieter van Ruijvan, who also owned The Milkmaid, which has a similar tension between the symbolism of sexual or romantic relations with maids and their presentation in a way that was more sympathetic than the established tradition.

This artwork is in the public domain.

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Jan Vermeer

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