Woman Reading a Letter, Johannes Vermeer, c. 1663

Woman Reading a Letter, Johannes Vermeer, c. 1663

oil on canvas, h 46.5cm × w 39cm × d 6.5cm. More details

Enjoying a quiet, private moment, this young woman is absorbed in reading a letter in the morning light. She is still wearing her blue night jacket. All of the colours in the composition are secondary to its radiant lapis lazuli blue. Vermeer recorded the effects of light with extraordinary precision. Particularly innovative is his rendering of the woman’s skin with pale grey, and the shadows on the wall using light blue.

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