8 x 12"
oil on panel
The next time you're lucky enough to stand in front of an original painting by Johannes Vermeer, imagine yourself, in 1657 in the Netherlands. You're standing behind the artist as he's painting in his studio on the top floor of a nice townhouse and the only lighting is the blue daylight coming through a window and the candles lighting his palette and canvas. Their maid, an older, sturdier woman poses beside the window, seemingly unaware of the viewer, pouring milk in a ceramic bowl with stale bread used as props on the table. Nothing fancy. Just a domestic woman doing her everyday chores.
The Milkmaid is one of Vermeer's most-famous paintings - one of a few that survived a fire. And lucky for us. Vermeer appreciated light like no other artist of his time. The woman against the white wall, the glimmer of white on the stream of milk being poured, the left side of her face and clothing lit as the rest recedes into shadows. And his details. Right down to the nails in the wall and seeds on the loaf of bread. Just wow.
The Milkmaid has traveled all over the globe and is currently back home at the Rijkmuseum in Amsterdam. Thanks go to Cindy Pronk, a photographer who lives in Holland and offered her original photo for a painting reference during this time when traveling and museum visits have been put on hold. I really appreciate the generosity of others.
Please click here for a larger view.