Vermeer and His Milkmaid Essay

1275 WordsDec 3, 20126 Pages
PZ ARHI 51C.1 FA12 Professor Bill Anthes Jackie Yongqing Fei 26.Oct.2012 Realism in “The Milkmaid” by Johannes Vermeer “The Milkmaid” is an oil on canvas painting by Dutch artist Johannes Vermeer painted in the 17th century. It is mostly considered as a Baroque styled painting of the Dutch golden age, an era comes/comes at the same time with the general European period of Baroque painting but also inherited the highly realism character from Early Netherlandish paintings. Like a lot of other paintings by Vermeer that show his favor in depicting real-life scenes, “The Milkmaid” is a portrait of a milkmaid pouring milk from a milk pot into a Dutch oven. In this piece of artwork, the woman's head scarf (or cap), blue apron and pushed up sleeves suggested her identity as a milkmaid. The basket with bread in it, the broken pieces of bread scattered on the table and the basket hanging on the wall next to the window all tell the viewer where the scene is taking place is a kitchen. Generally, the painting style is highly realistic, as a real-life scene in the kitchen, the viewer can almost feel the rough surface of the bread and hear the sound of pouring milk. Syre mentioned in her book that, “the viewers would emotionally experience a work of art is a defining characteristic of the Baroque.” (“Discovering the Humanities”, p.313)These kind of emotional impressions are often conveyed in a way that affects the viewers but requires a deeper analysis to understand. In “The Milkmaid”, the kitchen seems like a cold place which is dimly lightened and is scantily furnished. The milkmaid, standing at the center of the painting, is looking at the container with her head tilted to the left while carefully pouring milk. Her pushed up sleeves, strong arms and shoulders, and the redness on her hands reflect her hard work as a

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