In Mr. Frick's day, Rembrandt was the most highly regarded Dutch Old Master. In our time, he has been supplanted by Vermeer. In place of Rembrandt's splendor and unrestrained emotions, Vermeer offers images of order and quiet harmony. This small picture, painted about 1657, presents the familiar components of a classic Vermeer: a man and a woman observed sharing a moment alone, in a comfortable interior flooded with golden light, and cool air. Whatever the nature of the human exchange depicted here, it soon seems obvious that the real subject of the picture is light—the intangible light shown bursting in through the open window, breaking up reflections in the leaded panes, muffled through the curtains, caressing the soft plaster wall, lingering sporadically on glowing fabrics, sparkling glass, or the soft expanse of the vellum map (which depicts Holland). But the light soon recedes into dark corners and accents the young woman's beguiling face and soft kerchief differently. In this subtle fashion, Vermeer makes light a metaphor for time and reminds us ever so gently of its inevitable consequences. Fortunate are we to have been permitted to eavesdrop on this golden moment. Frick purchased two other paintings by Vermeer—Girl Interrupted at Her Music, painted about 1658-59, and Mistress and Maid, painted about 1666-67; all three works by Vermeer can be seen in the Frick's galleries.