Portrait of a girl in red dress by Jan Vermeer

Portrait of a girl in red dress by Jan Vermeer

Picture of the Netherlands artist Jan Vermeer Delft “Portrait of a girl in red dress”. The size of the portrait is 23.5 x 18 cm, wood, oil.

This small picture allows you to assess the skill of the artist in the image of the interaction of color and light. The figure of a woman in a somewhat exotic attire and an extravagant hat is very close to the viewer. She rests her right hand on the back of the chair, decorated with volutes and carved lion heads.

Space limits the tapestry behind the heroine’s back. The richness of colors – the luxurious blue color of the cape, the flaming red hats, the greenish and rosy tones of the face, underlined by the white collar and pearl earrings – make this picture unique among the legacy of Vermeer.

This is his only work, written on a wooden panel. The dense and smooth surface of the tree does not absorb the paint like the canvas, and the surface of the picture is more brilliant. Perhaps, Vermeer decided to use the tree as a basis to convey the effect of illumination. But the face of the portrait is written in a traditional manner. In the picture of the Dutch artist, the illuminated edge of the hat dominates, and the intensity of light is so great that the edge of the headgear seems transparent. The purple hues of the bottom surface of the hat, which is in the shade, are in harmony with the blue cloak.

Illuminated only the girl’s left cheek, the shadow on her face is underlined by a greenish glaze, but, as a reflection of the bright color of the headdress, red-orange glare on her cheeks. The most expressive part of the girl’s face – her eyes – remains in the shadows, which gives rise to a flash of mystery, designed to intrigue the viewer. A glint of light on the tip of the nose, half-open lips are also underlined by a glare.

The folds of the dark blue cloak are underlined in yellow, which makes the blue color more deeper. Light accents – a hat, glare of light on the face, a bright white collar blouse, pearl earrings, folds of clothes – very clearly stand out against a dark background. The face of a young woman – an elongated, reminiscent of the face of a young man – is not found on other canvases of Vermeer. The girl turned to the viewer, her mouth ajar, as if she was about to say something, but was hesitating.

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