Ah,the sad expression
in the eyes of that caged bird-
envying the butterfly!
The Art of Painting
A detail from Johannes Vermeer’s The Art of Painting (1666) shows Clio, the muse of history, reproduced as she is described in the Cesare Ripa’s Iconologia and clutching a copy of Thucydides in her hand. harpers.org
Art History Timelines: View Artwork: Johannes Vermeer, The Letter
The Astronomer, Johannes Vermeer 1668
Girl with a Pearl Earring, 1665, oil on canvas, 44.5 cm × 39 cm, Mauritshuis, The Hague.
This “Mona Lisa of the North” or the “Dutch Mona Lisa” is one of Dutch painter Johannes Vermeer’s masterworks and uses a pearl earring for a focal point in the picture. The picture is not a portrait but a study of a woman’s head known in Vermeer’s day as a tronie. Like in all of Vermeer’s paintings, the subject for this painting too has never been confirmed.
In any case, the most frequently mentioned candidate for the model for the Girl with a Pearl Earring has been Vermeer’s eldest daughter Maria. Magdalena, the only daughter of Vermeer’s principle patron, Pieter Van Ruijven, has also been proposed as a possible candidate. The idea that Vermeer engaged a maid as the sitter has been put forth in recent fictional literature (Tracy Chevalier’s historical novel by the same name), although there exists absolutely no historical evidence that supports this idea.
Despite the fact that Vermeer is known to have painted only 35 paintings, he is regarded as one of the greatest artists of the Dutch Golden Age. Vermeer acquired only modest recognition in his lifetime, but gained widespread respect after his death. His techniques, in particular his mastery of light have inspired modern artists of all types, including Dali.