Vermeer was an idealist, therefore this painting is his artwork classics. Nevertheless, in the same time the painting style does not have sharp edges or lines and is quite airy. He tended to reflect harmony, ideal combination of shapes and colors.
Young Woman with a Water Pitcher
The painting reflects characteristic to the 17th century Dutch society household. It gives feeling of home as woman has covered her head with cloth that used to be worn in case of cold weather, or to preserve the hairstyle outside, or during the morning toilette. The basin and water pitcher indicate purity. Judging by the interior and objects like jewelry box or the rug on the table, it can be assumed that the woman was not poor.
The map of the Netherlands on the wall indicates artist’s Dutch pride, in addition it was common decoration in Dutch households that also is a symbol of united country. From the technical perspective it represents triangular composition.
The woman on the painting is considered to be Verneer’s spouse as she used to wear the same headdress, another guess is that it is his daughter who looked a lot like her mother.
The painting was sold to Henry Gurdon Marquand back in 1887 for 800$, which later was brought to the US and donated to the Metropolitan Museum of Art. It was the first artist’s painting that reached the States.