Allegory of Faith – (Jan Vermeer) Previous Next


Style: Baroque

Topic: Religious

Technique: Oil

The Allegory of Faith, also known as Allegory of the Catholic Faith is a painting created by Dutch artist Johannes Vermeer in about 1670-1672 and at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York since 1931. This and Vermeer's only other, earlier, allegory, Art of Painting are his only works that fall under history painting in the contemporary hierarchy of genres, though they still have his typical composition of one or two figures in a domestic interior. Both share several features: the perspective is almost the same, and at the left of each painting is a multicolor tapestry pulled to the left to disclose the scene. The Art of Painting also used symbolism from Cesare Ripa (of Clio, muse of history). Vermeer's Love Letter uses the same or a similar gilt panel. The Allegory and The Art of Painting two paintings differ markedly in style and purpose from Vermeer's other works. Both works show complex meaning, but this one "reveals that the artist's usual focus on naturalistic effects was a stylistic option, to be set aside when the subject called for another approach". The Art of Painting still reads as a naturalistic depiction of an artist and his model, and the pose, if not the costume, of the model is a simple one, whereas the pose of the figure in the The Allegory of Faith is Baroquely dramatic.

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