Johannes Vermeer (1632 - 1675): The Glass of Wine (detail)3/19/2021, 10:22:12 AM
Johannes Vermeer (1632 - 1675): The Glass of Wine (detail), 1658 - 60, Oil on canvas, 66,3 x 76,5 cm (26.1 × 30.1 in), Gemäldegalerie - Staatliche Museen, Berlin Vermeer's 'The glass of wine' depicts a woman seated at a table drinking a glass of wine, while an elegantly dressed young man is watching her. Her face is almost hidden by the nearly empty glass. She is elegantly clothed wearing a red satin tabbaard with its dazzling ornate gold brocade suggesting that she has dressed to please her guest. A debonair looking man stands at her side, keeping a respectful distance from her. He looks straight at her with his hand, enclosed by a ruffled cuff, on a porcelain pitcher and seems to be waiting to fill her glass. His drab coloured clothing is in contrast to the woman’s attire and aids the visual divide between the two characters in the painting. A number of song books lie on the table which is covered by a heavy ornamental cloth. On the chair there is a blue cushion on which sits a cittern, a stringed instrument dating from the Renaissance. This is an instrument that often occurs in Vermeer’s pictures and symbolises both harmony and frivolity. His works set the tone for representations of the upper bourgeoisie, a social level more refined than that depicted by his contemporaries. This type of setting required finer and smoother pictorial rendition than, for instance, the Milkmaid. Consequently, Vermeer adapted his brushwork to the new needs.