100 Days of Art History Jinjins


The Milkmaid

I love Vermeer and the way he captures passing moments and suspends them in time. The way the light falls through the window and how precisely each item is placed and painted feels so peaceful and still.

It's funny, technically this is a genre painting of a servant, which was a whole style at the time. Other painters' versions of these genre paintings were more earthy and rollicking, even comic, but this just feels so serene (despite the foot warmer and tiles depicting cupid in the background, which are supposed to allude to her lust.)

This one felt similar to the very first painting I'd done that was more rendered and shaded, which was also a Vermeer, so it was fun to come back to this type of painting afterward and see how I'd improved. One thing I didn't quite get but realized in retrospect--part of why the original works so well is that the figure and table together form a very stable triangle shape with her head at the peak. I don't think my copy gets that shape across as clearly--the shoulder and head lean over just a little too far.

Reference image is from the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, where this painting is today.

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