Girl with a Flute is only cautiously attributed to Johannes Vermeer. The general character, appearance, and some of the techniques of this work relate closely to Vermeer’s other works, especially to Girl with the Red Hat. The quality of execution, however, does not match the master’s standards, probably because the image was extensively revised in the seventeenth century.
Girl with a Flute is one of only two paintings attributed to Vermeer that are on panel; the other is Girl with the Red Hat. The two works are so close in concept that one has to assume they were created at approximately the same time. In both paintings the young women interact directly with the viewer. Each wears an exotic hat that creates a strong shadow over the greater portion of her face. Each girl sits in a chair with lion finials, leans on one arm, and is framed by a wall tapestry of which only a fragment is visible. Because of the paintings’ slightly different sizes, however, it is unlikely that they were conceived as companion pieces, as has frequently been asserted.