Music-making, a recurring subject in Vermeer’s interior scenes, was associated in the seventeenth century with courtship. In this painting of a duet or music lesson momentarily interrupted, the amorous theme is reinforced by the picture of Cupid with raised left arm dimly visible in the background; the motif is derived from a popular book on emblems of love published in 1608 and symbolizes fidelity to a single lover.


  • Title: Girl Interrupted at Her Music
  • Creator: Johannes Vermeer
  • Date created: ca. 1658-59
  • Physical Dimensions: 39.4 x 44.5 cm
  • Provenance: Pieter de Smeth-van Alphen sale, August 1, 1810, Amsterdam, Lot 57, sold for 610 florins to de Vries. Henry Croese sale, September 18, 1811, Amsterdam, Lot 45, sold for 399 florins to C.S. Roos. His sale, August 28, 1820, Amsterdam, Lot 64, sold for 330 florins to Brondgeest. Samuel Woodburn sale, June 25, 1853, London, Lot 128, sold to Francis Gibson, Saffron Walden, who died in 1858. Mrs. Lewis Fry (Francis Gibson’s daughter), Clifton. Lawrie and Co. Knoedler. Frick, 1901. Source: "Paintings in The Frick Collection: American, British, Dutch, Flemish and German." Volume I. New York: The Frick Collection, 1968.
  • Type: Painting
  • External Link: See more on The Frick Collection website
  • Medium: Oil on canvas

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