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              Essential Vermeer 3.0

              The Complete Interactive Vermeer Catalogue

              The textual material contained in the Essential Vermeer Interactive Catalogue would fill a hefty-sized book, and is enhanced by more than 1,000 corollary images. In order to use the catalogue most advantageously:

              1. Slowly scroll your mouse over the painting to a point of particular interest. Relative information and images will slide into the box located to the right of the painting. To hold and scroll the slide-in information, single click on area of interest. To release the slide-in information, single-click on the painting again and continue exploring.

              2. To access Special Topics and Fact Sheet information and accessory images, single-click any list item. To release slide-in information, click on any list item and continue exploring.

              The flute

              Young Flute Player, Judith Leyster

              Young Flute Player
              Judith Leyster
              c. 1635
              2018救济金6元棋牌 Nationalmuseum, Stockholm

              The recorder, or flute as it is usually referred to, makes only a minor appearance in Vermeer's oeuvre. Helen Hollis, formerly of the division of musical instruments at the Smithsonian Institute, believes that although the fipple mouthpiece is correctly indicated by the double highlight, the air hole below the mouthpiece is incorrectly aligned. As seen in the recorder hanging on the wall in a painting by Judith Leyster, it should lie on an axis with the upper lip of the mouthpiece. The finger holes seen below the girl's hand are turned even further off this axis, although such a placement would be allowable if the recorder were composed of two sections.

              2018救济金6元棋牌Scientific examination of the painting reveals that the finger which rests on the recorder was not by Vermeer's hand, suggesting that the flute did not exist in the original composition. Without the added finger, the flute could not be held.

              However accurate or inaccurate the representation of the instrument may be, no one has advanced a plausible explanation of the combination of the young girl's Chinese hat and the instrument if, indeed, Vermeer ever intended one.

              The young girl

              The identity of the androgynous girl is unknown, but her features are comparable to those of the Girl with a Red Hat, which many experts consider a pendant. In the present work, the rendering of the face appears far less refined than that of her counterpart. This may be due to the fact that some key passages of the painting are unfinished or overpainted by another hand. What we now see may be the so-called "working-up" phase, which was a common procedure that followed an initial monochromatic blocking in. Broad and simplified shifts of light and dark, define both the anatomical features and the fall of the light. Perhaps some of the rougher transitions would have been softened with the so called "badger brush," or "sweetener," a fan-shaped brush used not to apply, but to blend imperceptibly different tones.

              But what most deprives the girl of her rightful expression has been overlooked by most experts. Vermeer's masterly highlights, crucial to the mysterious depth of the Girl with a Red Hat2018救济金6元棋牌, here are totally lacking. This lacuna explains the uncustomary blurry gaze of eyes and dryness of the lips. Highlights are generally the last to be applied and may be vulnerable to overzealous restoration. All considered, it would be ungenerous to judge the painting in its current condition which is among the worst of Vermeer's surviving 35 or 36 paintings.

              2018救济金6元棋牌One writer has perceived the influence of the Far East not only in the girl's peculiar hat but in her physiognomy as well. However, even if Delft was one of the entrance ways for Far East trade, an exotic hat does not necessarily make for an oriental face. In the end, the girl, like many of Vermeer's female protagonists, have plain faces which one would not have noticed had they passed us by on a street. They become beautiful when seen through the painter's exceptional eye.

              The juxtaposition of ordinary and extraordinary is one of the characteristics of the tronie genre (see Special Topic box below). In any case, the girl's partially open mouth automatically disqualifies the work as a portrait because the depiction of teeth or the tongue were always avoided in true portraiture, perhaps the most conservative category in 17th-century painting.

              2018救济金6元棋牌Some writers assert that the girl may have been one of Vermeer's daughters, entirely possible, but with no objective foundation whatsoever.

              The girl's costume

              Girl with a Flute (detail), Johannes Vermeer

              The unusual costume has parallels to contemporary dress of the times and seems to reflect Vermeer's taste for the satin, fur-trimmed garments which populate so many of his genre interiors. Although partially repainted, the jacket looks similar to one worn by the singer in The Concert2018救济金6元棋牌, which might be the article of clothing annoted in Vermeer's death inventory as "an old green mantle with white fur trimmings."

              X-radiography and infrared reflectography reveal that the front panel of fur trim was not a part of the original garment and was added at a later phase in the painting process by Vermeer, perhaps to enliven the work's compositional scheme. The fur trim of the left-hand sleeve has been repainted by a later hand and lacks the freshness of the vertical panel and the right-hand sleeve. Technical examination also proves that the right-hand sleeve once covered more of the figure's forearm.

              The bizarre hat

              A Girl Drawing, follower of Frans van Mieris

              A Girl Drawing
              follower of Frans van Mieris
              Oil on panel
              Private collection

              Such a bizarre hat might appear incomprehensible in Vermeer's imagery unless if we fail to relate it to the painting's probable pendant, Girl with a Red Hat and the Dutch tronie tradition (see Special Topic box below). Among other elements, both of these works are united by improbable head gear sitting on top of an unusual face, a caprice which only a select few painter could transform into great works of art. The hat's broad brim casts a soft shadow over the model's eyes analogous to the one that can be observed in Girl with a Red Hat2018救济金6元棋牌. Rembrandt had used this device in a series of early self portraits which could have been accessible to Vermeer, if not through the original, through many derivative works by Rembrandt's pupils.

              The conical hat has no exact prototype in Dutch paintings of the time even though it reflects the contemporary vogue for oriental costume. One expert believes that the parallel stripes are not painted in conformity with the laws of perspective.

              The lion-head finial

              Girl with a Red Hat (detail), Johannes Vermeer

              Those who criticize the present work point out the inferior quality of the lion-head finial in respects to the ones in the Girl with a Red Hat(see$$$$$), a possible pendant to this work.

              2018救济金6元棋牌Vermeer expert Arthur K. Wheelock Jr. suggests that it may be by the hand of a painter within the "circle of Vermeer" even though there exists no concrete evidence of such a circle or even of an apprentice ever existed. On the other hand, Walter Liedtke believes that all considered the work deserves to be admitted to Vermeer's oeuvre. He points out that it exhibits many formal characteristics of paintings of the same period and that the stylistic anomalies and weak passages are due to the fact that it was left unfinished by the artist.

              The background tapestry

              The background tapestry is yet another element that connects this work to the Girl with a Red Hat. The background tapestry is so approximately painted that it cannot be identified with any degree of certainty even though common sense would lead us to believe that it is of the similar type, if not the same tapestry displayed in The Art of Painting or the Allegory of Faith. One expert has suggested it may be of a Giant Leaf tapestry fabricated in the Spanish Netherlands, which evoked the forests of the New World. Obviously, Vermeer would have had no problems inventing such an elementary design from scratch.

              The clumsy appearance of this hand and cuff

              2018救济金6元棋牌The clumsy appearance of this hand and cuff are due to overpainting by another artist.

              Critical assessment

              The Girl with a Flute is the only painting on panel....other than Girl with a Red Hat. Owing also to similarities in scale and subject matter, scholars frequently cited these works as pendants. Indeed, both girls look expectantly towards the viewer with eyes alert and half-open mouths. Each wears an exotic hat, sits before a tapestry in a chair with lion finials and leans on one arm. Light enters from the left in both compositions, striking the left cheek, nose and chin of both figures. A thin green glaze pulled over the flesh tone, moreover, indicates the shaded positions of the faces. Finally, colored highlights accent the lower lips of the slightly parted mouths, turquoise in the Girl with a Flute and pink in the Girl with a Red Hat.

              Arthur K. Wheelock Jr., Johannes Vermeer, 1981

              The signature

              2018救济金6元棋牌No signature appears on this work.

              (Click here to access a complete study of Vermeer's signatures.)


              c. 1665–1670
              Arthur K. Wheelock Jr., Vermeer: The Complete Works2018救济金6元棋牌, New York, 1997

              c. 1665–1670
              Walter Liedtke, Vermeer: The Complete Paintings2018救济金6元棋牌, New York, 2008

              c. 1665–1668
              Wayne Franits, Vermeer, 2015

              (Click here to access a complete study of the dates of Vermeer's paintings).

              Technical report

              2018救济金6元棋牌The vertically grained oak panel support has beveled edges on the back. The panel has a slight convex warp, a small check in the top edge at the right, and small gouges, rubs, and splinters on the back from nails and handling. A very thin, smooth; white chalk ground was applied overall, followed by a course textured gray ground. A reddish-brown dead coloring exists under most areas of the painting and is incorporated in the design of the tapestry.

              2018救济金6元棋牌Paint is applied moderately thinly, forming a rough surface texture in lighter passages. Still wet paint in the proper right cheek and chin was textured with a fingertip, then glazed with a translucent green half-tone. In many areas of the whites, particularly in the proper left collar and cuff, a distinctive wrinkling is present, which disturbs the surface. Small irregularly shaped losses over much of the surface may have resulted from abrasion to similar wrinkles that occurred during old restorations.

              * Johannes Vermeer2018救济金6元棋牌 (exh. cat., National Gallery of Art and Royal Cabinet of Paintings Mauritshuis - Washington and The Hague, 1995, edited by Arthur K. Wheelock Jr.)

              The painting in its frame

              (Click here to access all of Vermeer's paintings in their frames).

              Girl with a Flute by Johannes Vermeer in its frame


              • (?) Pieter Claesz van Ruijven, Delft (d. 1674); (?) his widow, Maria de Knuijt, Delft (d. 1681);
              • (?) their daughter, Magdalena van Ruijven, Delft (d. 1682); (?) her widower, Jacob Abrahamsz Dissius (d. 1695);
              • Dissius sale, Amsterdam, 16 May, 1696, no. 38, 39 or 40 [tronies];
              • (?) Van Son family, 's-Hertogenbosch;
              • Jan Mahie van Boxtel en Liempde and his wife, Geertruida van Boxtel en Liempde (née Van Son, d. 1876), 's-Hertogenbosch;
              • purchased by their daughter, Jacqueline Gertrude Marie de Grez-van Boxtel en Liempde, wife of Jonkheer Jan de Grez (d.1910), Brussels (1876–1911);
              • [Jonas, Paris, 1911];
              • August Janssen, Amsterdam [by 1919–1921];
              • [Frederick Muller, Amsterdam, and Knoedler, New York, 1921–1923, sold to Widener];
              • Joseph E. Widener, Lynnewood Hall, Elkins Park, Philadelphia (1923-d.1942);
              • National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC, Widener Collection (acc. no. 1942.9.98).


              • The Hague 1907
                Loan to display with permanent collection
              • The Hague 1919
                La Collection Goudstikker d'Amsterdam
                Pulchri Studio
                no. 131 and ill.
              • Copenhagen January, 1920
                La Collection Goudstikker d#39;Amsterdam
                National Gallery of Denmark (unlisted in exh. cat.)
              • Stockholm February, 1920
                La Collection Goudstikker d'Amsterdam
                Royal Swedish Academy of Fine Arts
                (unlisted in exh. cat.)
              • Oslo March, 1920
                La Collection Goudstikker d'Amsterdam
                Oslo Konstforening
                (unlisted in exh. cat.)
              • Rotterdam May–June, 1920
                La Collection Goudstikker d#39;Amsterdam
                Academie van Beeldende Kunsten.
                (no. 19. and ill.)
              • Washington D.C 1995
                Dutch Cabinet Galleries
                National Gallery of Art
                204–208, no. 23 as "Young Girl with a Flute" by Circle of Johannes Vermeer, and ill.
              • Washington D.C November 12, 1995–February 11, 1996
                Johannes Vermeer
                National Gallery of Art
                no. 23 as "Young Girl with a Flute" by circle of Johannes Vermeer
              • The Hague March 1–June 2, 1996
                Johannes Vermeer
                204–208, no. 23 as "Young Girl with a Flute" by Circle of Johannes Vermeer and ill.
              • Washington D.C May 17–August 9, 1998
                A Collector's Cabinet
                National Gallery of Art
                no. 62
              • Washington D.C November 24, 1999–February 8, 2000
                Johannes Vermeer's The Art of Painting
                National Gallery of Art
                (not in brochure)

              (Click here to access a complete, sortable list of the exhibitions of Vermeer's paintings).

              The painting in scale

              (Click here to access all of Vermeer's paintings in scale).

              Girl with a Flute by Johannes Vermeer in scale

              Flute music & flute tradition

              Shepherd Holding a Flute, Jan van Bijlert

              Shepherd Holding a Flute
              Jan van Bijlert
              79 x 65 cm.
              2018救济金6元棋牌 Private collection

              In classical times, stringed instruments were held in highest regards. The cithara2018救济金6元棋牌, for example, was noble enough to be dedicated to Apollo, while the flute was dedicated to Dionysius because of his associations with drunkenness and orgies. Therefore, it was considered the most primitive of musical instruments and to a good extent, this view prevailed until the 17th century.

              From its appearance in shepherd portraits and Dutch genre works, the flute may seem to have been little more than a decorative attribute, easily depicted. It plays well in both the tranquil domestic scene and the shabby open-air tavern. However, in the 17th century, the recorder had become more than a plaything: it was but one musical instrument amongst others, sometimes improved by the work of professional instrument-makers, heard by a varied audience, and played by both dedicated amateurs and professional musicians such as Jacob van Eyck.

              The tronie: a type of painting made to sell

              Man in Oriental Dress, Frans van Mieris

              Man in Oriental Dress
              Frans van Mieris
              149.9 x 11.2 cm.
              Picture Gallery of Prince Willem V, The Hague

              The Girl with a Flute is a perfect example of the popular category of Dutch painting called tronie, an obsolete term that refers to a type of picture made familiar by Rembrandt and his followers. Tronies were based upon living models, including the artists themselves, relatives or colleagues. However, they were not intended as formal portraits—portraits were always commissioned—but were kept on spec in the artist's studio ready to stimulate the potential buyer's appetite. An old man, a comely young woman, a "Turk," or a dashing soldier were all standard tronies subjects. Artists favored garments that looked particularly exotic offering the opportunity to experiment and show off painterly technique, one of the strongest calling cards of the professional artist. Tronies, usually reduced in scale, dimension and price, were avidly collected.

              The self portrait by Frans van Mieris(see$$$$$), one of the most successful artists in the Netherlands, evidences the typical showiness of the Dutch tronie.

              Vermeer is known to have painted three tronies in all, one of which, the famous Girl with a Pearl Earring.

              Jacob van Eyck & Dutch flute music

              Front page of Jacob Van Eyck's Der Fluyten Lust-hof

              Jacob Van Eyck was one of the most remarkable figures in Dutch musical life during the Golden Age. He was a nobleman, blind from birth, widely known as a carillonneur, leading expert in the field of bell casting and tuning, and admired as a brilliant recorder virtuoso. His demanding solo variations, preludes and fantasias from Der Fluyten Lust-hof2018救济金6元棋牌 (The Flute's Garden of Delight) are both loved and feared by recorder players today, all over the world.

              It is said that Van Eyck used to improvise in the garden adjacent to the Sint Janskerk in Utrecht, entertaining by-passers and romancing young couples. Someone then must have listened his way through and transcribed what corresponds to almost ten hours of music, very much the way many a jazz musician still work today. The apparent popularity of van Eyck's music caused his publisher Paul Matthysz to edit several collections in van Eyck's lifetime. One can only imagine the troublesome procedures foregoing a publication of this kind, as the author couldn't write himself. Der Fluyten Lust-hof is an outstanding proof of a craft which is today a sadly neglected art form. To improvise was the true core of all music long before the invention of musical notation.

              With about 150 pieces Der Fluyten Lust-hof2018救济金6元棋牌 is the largest solo collection for one single instrument ever printed. Van Eyck's output consists mainly of sets of variations on tunes that were popular during the Dutch Golden Age. Its themes are as diverse as Calvinist psalms, dances, the hits of the day and lewd songs.

              For centuries, this kind of music belonged to the repertoire of an instrument of ancient origin which was played at the courts, in the streets, churches, brothels and pubs: the recorder. The work gives us a rare insight into the musical world of the late Renaissance and the early Baroque with its intricate and abundant use of variation techniques.

              A pendant?

              Girl with a Flute and Girl with a Red Hat by Johannes Vermeer

              Even though Vermeer often retraced his steps and produced couples of work that are closely related in style or subject, there is no objective proof that any of these works were meant as true pendants intended to be hung side by side. Plausible candidates for a pendant, however, must be the present work and the Girl with a Red Hat2018救济金6元棋牌 (see images left). They are both executed on panel and are of similar dimension. Moreover, they both portray a similar young, opened-mouth girl wearing an outlandish hat—no comparable similar hats appear in Dutch painting of the Golden Age—which projects upon each face a soft shadow over the eyes. Both figures, with large pair-shaped pearl earrings, peer out directly at the spectator from an evocative penumbra and are seated on a Spanish chair while an anonymous tapestry hovers behind them. Furthermore, the best passages of each work are comparable in style and delicacy.

              The most obvious argument against the case of the pendant is that the Girl with a Flute does not stand up to the overall technical quality as its counterpart. However, scientific examination reveals that the inconsistencies can be safely attributed to the poor state of conservation of the Girl with a Flute while the possibility that the work was left unfinished is also open.

              Listen to period music

              music icon "Engels Lied"("English Song") [1.82 MB]
              from Jacob van Eyck,

              performed by Marion Verbruggen

              Soprano recorder in c, after the transitional instrument by Richard Haka

              Soprano recorder in c, after the transitional
              instrument by Richard Haka
              (Amsterdam, mid-17th century),
              designed by .
              This instrument, also known as "Handfluyt" or
              "Van Eyck"-recorder, is particularly suitable for
              playing Jacob van Eyck's music and the 17th century
              Italian repertoire.

              The prehistoric ancestors of the recorder (whistles for distance communication and ritual dances and the spirit calling) were of made of bone, ivory or wood and can be traced back to thousands of years. Probably the earliest specimen of a recorder- flute-like instrument dates back about 39,000 years and was recently been discovered in a cavern in southwest Germany making it the oldest musical instrument known. Portrayals of wind instruments ("pipes") which may be recorders, appear in medieval sculptures, carvings and paintings from the 11th century to the 14th century.

              2018救济金6元棋牌During the 15th and 16th centuries the recorder developed into the "renaissance" form and was produced in many sizes for consorts, blending easily with each other in "whole" consorts (consorts of recorders) or contrasting with other period instruments or voices. The first professional use of recorders is documented towards 1500 as one of the regular instruments of professional wind players, along with shawm, cornett, sackbut and trumpet. In 16th-century Venice the "pifferi" (pipers) of the Doge played recorders as well as other instruments for the large processions of the Scuola di San Marco.

              2018救济金6元棋牌Due to its relative ease of playing (practiced by children in numerous Dutch 17th-century paintings) the recorder became very popular with amateur musicians of all classes, including royal and noble households as is evident from inventories listing vast quantities of wind instruments. King Henry VIII of England owned no less than 76 recorders.

              The most famous recorder player of the 17th century was no doubt the blind Jacob van Eyck, composer of Der fluyten lust-hof2018救济金6元棋牌 (Amsterdam 1646–1649), the largest collection of music ever published for a solo wind instrument by a single composer.

              With the change of the musical taste in the late 16th and 17th centuries the recorder was redesigned for use as a solo instrument. It was now made in three pieces allowing a more accurate boring and had a fully chromatic range of two octaves. This new "baroque recorder" produced an reedy, penetrating sound of great carrying power, therefore, best suited for chamber music and even solo concerti. It remained a highly esteemed and popular instrument until the late 18th and early 19th century.

              The essential feature of the recorder is the head with the internal plug ("block," hence the German name "Blockflöte"), leaving the windway (duct) to lead the player's breath to a rigid sharp edge or "lip" (voicing edge) at the base of the mouth ("labium").

              The recorder has holes for seven fingers (the lower one or two often doubled to facilitate the production of semitones) and a single hole for the thumb on the back side which also serves as an octaving vent. A recorder consort usually consists of the "descant" or "soprano," the "treble" or "alto," the tenor and the bass instrument. Sopranino and great bass instruments are also fairly common.

              Womens' hats

              The Artist's Bride of Three Days, Rembrandt van Rijn

              The Artist's Bride of Three Days (detail)
              Rembrandt van Rijn
              Silverpoint on prepared vellum, 18.5 x 10.7 cm.
              Berlin, Kupferstichkabinett

              2018救济金6元棋牌In contemporary French and Dutch language the word "hat" could be used as a metaphor for a man while "coif" denoted a woman.

              2018救济金6元棋牌Women were largely discouraged from wearing the broad felt hats that men wore in public until the mid 1600s, when it had become more acceptable. Fashionable young women in Holland occasionally wore feathered hats during promenades to the country or seaside as a special protection against exposure to the sun.

              On the other hand, wide-brimmed straw hats were worn by women everywhere in Europe of all classes. They had the same protective function as more expensive hats and must have had a charming effect on men. In painting they were often associated with country life.

              The kind of hat worn by the woman in this painting by Vermeer is something out of the ordinary and was painted just for that reason.

              Learning how to play music

              The prominent role that music played in Dutch society was supported by the Dutch educational system which was probably the best in Europe at the time. Primary schools were available to all social classes and could be found in almost every village. Although the major focus was on reading, writing, arithmetic and Scriptures, music was sometimes offered as a supplemental instruction. At the secondary level, musical instruction was given to boys aged nine to seventeen. At Latin School, present in every major town, music instruction was continued and musical theory was introduced at the gymnasium (grammar school). However, serious study required a professional instructor. Lower-class children could earn their keep by assisting the master.

              Other than giving musical lessons, various opportunities were available to aspiring musicians. Larger Dutch towns employed stadspeellieden (municipal musicians) who primarily played string or wind instruments. Their duties varied but the inevitably received little pay.

              2018救济金6元棋牌What was Vermeer's musical education like? As the only son of an innkeeper Vermeer grew up in taverns where drinking, smoking, business, cavorting and music-making all meshed together amid pictures from his father's art trade. Furthermore, music seems to have had some place in his family.

              The stepfather of Vermeer's father Reynier, Nicolaes ("Claes") Corstiaensz. van der Minne, was a professional musician, a so-called speelman, aside from being a tailor. We know that Nicolaes had played on the occasions of public festivities or whenever he was called on. He possessed various instruments, and it is probable that Nicolaes had instructed his son to play some kind of musical instrument, perhaps a flute. Thus, Reynier grew up in a musical family. It would be only logical to suppose that he imparted to his own two children, Gertruy and Johannes, a hearty sense of enjoyment. Although there is no proof, the artist's family musical connections have something to do with the elevated number of musical themes he painted.

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