The Glass of Wine

Johannes Vermeeraround 1661

Gemäldegalerie, National Museums in Berlin

Gemäldegalerie, National Museums in Berlin

An elegantly dressed young man is watching a woman finish a glass of wine. He has his hand on a jug, and seems to be waiting to refill the glass. Vermeer has taken the traditional motif of `wine, women and song', and, obviously influenced by a picture of ter Borch's, transformed it into a distinguished tête-à-tête. In ter Borch's painting the cavalier had his arm around the woman's shoulder, but Vermeer does not give any explicit indication of the nature of this couple's relationship. lt is uncertain whether consuming alcohol will lead to excess. Vermeer simply provides hints. The chitarrone on the chair, an instrument that frequently occurs in his pictures, symbolizes both harmony and frivolity. The window pane with the coat of arms also shows a woman holding a bridle, an attribute of Temperantia (moderation). Vermeer handles the light coming in through the leaded window and its interplay with people and objects in a masterly fashion. In his later paintings in particular Vermeer used the "camera obscura", which opened up completely new opportunities for expression and design for artists, in order to capture the effect of light and colours more effectively.

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  • Title: The Glass of Wine
  • Creator: Jan Vermeer van Delft
  • Date Created: around 1661
  • Physical Dimensions: w79.6 x h68.0 cm
  • Type: Painting
  • External Link: Gemäldegalerie, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin
  • Medium: Oil on canvas
  • Style: Netherlandish
  • Copyright Text: Text: © http://www.prestel.com, Prestel Verlag / Claudia Banz Audio: © Tonwelt / Staatliche Museen zu Berlin – Preußischer Kulturbesitz // Photo: © http://www.bpk-images.de, b p k - Photo Agency / Gemäldegalerie, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin / Jörg P. Anders
  • Collection: Gemäldegalerie, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin
  • Artist information: Jan Vermeer van Delft, or simply Vermeer, was a Dutch genre painter in the Baroque. Although he achieved only moderate success in his lifetime, today he is renowned for his masterly use and treatment of light in his paintings and is acclaimed as one of the most popular genre painters. His works are characterized by bright colours and pigments, with a particular favouring of cornflower blue and yellow. The settings for his images are mostly domestic interior scenes of middle-class life. It is speculated that he used a camera obscura to achieve precise positioning and this view seems to be supported by certain effects of light and perspective in his paintings, possibly evident in some reflective surfaces. Whether the theory is proven or not, his compositions often have an underlying geometric quality to them. The Kitchen Maid' (1658) is one of his most recognizable works.
  • Artist Place of Death: Delft, Netherlands
  • Artist Place of Birth: Delft, Netherlands
  • Artist Gender: male
  • Artist Dates: 1632/1675


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