Seated at a virginal with her fingers gently resting on the keyboard, Johannes Vermeer’s young woman gazes towards the viewer with a slight smile on her face. The stilled intimacy of the moment emerges from the interruption in her playing. The light moves in from a window above, ever so slightly illuminating the side of her face and the string of pearls around her neck and ribbons in her hair. Vermeer often depicted young women playing musical instruments in contemporary interiors, where, as in this work, themes of love and courtship abound. Here, the viewer may assume the role of a potential suitor, engaging in a quiet exchange with the sitter.
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