|Allegory of Painting (The Artist's Studio),|
1665-67, Jan Vermeer
Characteristically, the one painting that appears to be a self-portrait depicts the artist's back to the viewer. The painting, titled Allegory of Painting (the Artist in his Studio), is also one of his best. Vermeer paints himself seated at his easel in a cluttered, well-lit studio, apparently working on a portrait of a well-dressed young woman bearing an over sized volume, her face and figure lit by his trademark window on the left. The actual light source is obscured from view by a massive, patterned draper. The tiled floor gives evidence of an interest in perspective, and the whole of the composition is marked by a crisscrossing pattern of vertical and horizontal lines with an occasional diagonal to avoid monotony. Nearly all of Vermeer's paintings follow this basic formula--a middle-class woman involved in some routine, female duty lit by natural light from the left with exquisite attention to minute detail, color, composition, and texture.
|View of Delft, 1660-61, Jan Vermeer|