The Girl with the Wine Glass: Johannes Vermeer

The Girl with the Wine Glass: Johannes Vermeer

The Girl with the Wine Glass is a genre painting by Dutch Golden Age artist Johannes Vermeer. It was created in 1659. This work is located in the Herzog Anton Ulrich Museum in Braunschweig, Germany.

Analysis of The Girl with the Wine Glass

Titled “A Lady and Two Gentlemen” in original Dutch, the painting is prosaically arranged. A young woman, who is clearly the object of a flirtation by a man bowing to give her a glass of refreshment, is turning from her chair in the middle of a room to give us a radiant smile suggestive of excitement and glee.

Beyond the jolly couple, his back to the wall and his face turned away, is a gloomy young man who, we readily suppose, has either been rejected by the girl or has given up trying to capture her attention. The picture, therefore, comes to configure, in Vermeer’s typical fashion, a genre scene in which an easily recognizable social event has occurred.

The painting relates directly to what we see in Vermeer’s Wine Glass (c. 1660) and Girl Interrupted at Her Music (c. 1659). The room appears to be the very same; also, the other two pictures treat the selfsame themes of a young woman drinking and of male courtship.

The allegorical figure that can be espied on the glass of the window has been identified as Temperance. This admonishing presence has a clear ethical instruction that relates to the three youths and their indulgence in wine and promiscuity.

The execution of geometrical perspective, in this (for the artist) fairly familiar composition, is wrought by Vermeer to perfection. It is communicated strongly by the black and white tiles running up to the wall. In another characteristic flourish, Vermeer has employed for this artwork some notably expensive pigments (ultramarine, lead-tin-yellow, vermilion).

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