Here Vermeer has chosen an unusual vantage point. From the depths of a shadowy space, we are given a glimpse of a room. A richly clad woman has momentarily ceased her music-making for a letter that has just been handed to her. She looks up expectantly at the servant girl. The subject of the letter could be related to the seascape behind the two women. In the 17th century the sea was often compared to love, and the lover to a ship.

From the collection of P. and J.F. van Lennep (Amsterdam), among others. Purchased in 1893, with the support of the Vereniging Rembrandt.


  • Title: The Love Letter
  • Creator: Johannes Vermeer
  • Creator Death Place: Delft, The Netherlands
  • Creator Birth Place: Delft, The Netherlands
  • Date Created: Around 1669
  • Style: Northern Netherlands School
  • Provenance: Sale J. Messchert van Vollenhoven, Amsterdam 29 March 1892, lot 14; Purchased in January 1893 with support of the Vereniging Rembrandt
  • Physical Dimensions: w385 x h440 mm
  • Original Title: 'De liefdesbrief'
  • Type: Painting
  • External Link: See more on the Rijksmuseum website
  • Medium: oil on canvas

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