Overview

Woman Holding a Balance is a superb example of Johannes Vermeer’s exquisite sense of stability and rhythm. A woman dressed in a blue jacket with fur trim stands serenely at a table in a corner of a room. The scales in her right hand are at equilibrium, suggestive of her inner state of mind. A large painting of the Last Judgment, framed in black, hangs on the back wall of the room. A shimmering blue cloth, open boxes, two strands of pearls, and a gold chain lie on the sturdy table. Soft light comes in through the window and illuminates the scene. The woman is so pensive that the viewer almost hesitates to intrude on her quiet moment of contemplation.

The visual juxtaposition of the woman and the Last Judgment is reinforced by thematic parallels: to judge is to weigh. This scene has religious implications that seem related to Saint Ignatius of Loyola’s instructions, in his Spiritual Exercises, that the faithful, prior to meditating, first examine their conscience and weigh their sins as if facing Judgment Day. Only such introspection could lead to virtuous choices along the path of life. Woman Holding a Balance thus allegorically urges us to conduct our lives with temperance and moderation. The woman is poised between the earthly treasures of gold and pearls and a visual reminder of the eternal consequences of her actions.

Vermeer emphasized this message through his superbly refined composition and lighting. The hand holding the balance, for example, occupies a position directly in front of the frame’s dark corner, while the scales are set off against the bare plaster wall—an effect that Vermeer created through subtle spatial manipulation. Note, for instance, that the bottom of the Last Judgment’s frame is slightly higher to the left of the woman than it is behind her back, creating room for the balance.

Inscription

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Marks and Labels

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Provenance

Possibly Pieter Claesz van Ruijven [1624-1674], Delft; possibly by inheritance to his wife, Maria de Knuijt [d. 1681], Delft; possibly by inheritance to her daughter, Magdalena van Ruijven [1655-1682], Delft; possibly by inheritance to her husband, Jacobus Abrahamsz. Dissius [1653-1695], Delft;[1] (his sale, Amsterdam, 16 May 1696, no. 1);[2] Isaac Rooleeuw [c. 1650-1710], Amsterdam; (his bankruptcy sale, Amsterdam, 20 April 1701, no. 6); Paolo van Uchelen [c. 1641-1702], Amsterdam; by inheritance 1703 to his son, Paolo van Uchelen the Younger [1673-1754], Amsterdam; by inheritance to his daughter, Anna Gertruijda van Uchelen [1705-1766], Amsterdam; (her estate sale, B. Tideman, Amsterdam, 18 March 1767, no. 6); Kok.[3] Nicolaas Nieuhoff [1733-1776], Amsterdam; (his estate sale, Arnoldus Dankmeyer, Amsterdam,14 April 1777 and days following, no. 116); Van den Bogaard.[4] Maximilian I Joseph, King of Bavaria [1756-1825]; (his estate sale, Munich, 5 December 1826, no. 101, as by Gabriel Metsu); Louis Charles Victor de Riquet, duc de Caraman [1762-1839], Paris; (his sale, Salle Lebrun by Lacoste, Paris, 10-12 May 1830, no. 68). Casimir Pierre Péreir [1777-1832], Paris; his heirs; (his estate sale, Christie & Manson, London, 5 May 1848, no. 7);[5] purchased by Péreir's son, probably Auguste C.V.L. Périer, later Casimir-Périer [1811-1876];[6] probably by inheritance to Auguste's daughter, Marie Thérèse Henriette Jeanne, comtesse de Ségur [1844-1916, née Périer];[7] purchased 1910 by (P. & D. Colnaghi & Co., London); one-quarter share purchased October 1910 by (M. Knoedler & Co., New York); sold 11 January 1911 to Peter A. B. Widener, Lynnewood Hall, Elkins Park, Pennsylvania;[8] inheritance from Estate of Peter A. B. Widener by gift through power of appointment of Joseph E. Widener, Elkins Park, Pennsylvania; gift 1942 to NGA.

Exhibition History

1912
Exhibition of Old Masters for the Benefit of The Artists' Funds and Artists' Aid Societies, M. Knoedler & Co., New York, 1912, no. 49.
1925
A Loan Exhibition of Dutch Paintings, Detroit Institute of Arts, 1925, no. 33, repro.
1933
A Century of Progress Exhibition of Paintings and Sculpture, Art Institute of Chicago, 1933, no. 80.
1984
Masters of Seventeenth-Century Dutch Genre Painting, Philadelphia Museum of Art; Gemäldegalerie, Staatliche Museen Preussischer Kulturbesitz, Berlin; Royal Academy of Arts, London, 1984, no. 118.
1995
Dutch Cabinet Galleries, National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., 1995-1996, no cat.
1995
Johannes Vermeer, National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.; Royal Cabinet of Paintings Mauritshuis, The Hague, 1995-1996, no. 10, repro.
1998
A Collector's Cabinet, National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., 1998, no. 61, fig. 14.
1999
Johannes Vermeer: The Art of Painting, National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., 1999-2000, brochure, fig. 9.
2000
The Public and the Private in the Age of Vermeer, Osaka Municipal Museum of Art, 2000, no. 33, repro.
2001
Vermeer and the Delft School, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; The National Gallery, London, 2001, no. 73, repro., as Woman with a Balance.
2011
Vermeer in München. König Maximilian I. Joseph von Bayern as Sammler Alter Meister [Vermeer in Munich - King Max I Joseph of Bavaria as a Collector of Old Masters], Bayerisches Staatsgemäldesammlungen - Alte Pinakothek, Munich, 2011, no. 1, repro.
2012
Masterpiece of the Month, Detroit Institute of Arts, 2012, no catalogue.

Bibliography

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1911
Bode, Wilhelm von. "Jan Vermeer und Pieter de Hooch als Konkurrenten." Jahrbuch der Königlich Preussischen Kunstsammlungen 32 (1911): 1-2, repro.
1911
Plietzsch, Eduard. Vermeer van Delft. Leipzig, 1911: 49-50, 98, 119, no. 35.
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Frimmel, Theodor von. "A Woman Weighing Pearls by Vermeer of Delft." The Burlington Magazine 22 (October 1912): 48-49.
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1913
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1929
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1933
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1933
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1935
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National Gallery of Art. Works of art from the Widener collection. Washington, 1942: 7, no. 693, as A Woman Weighing Gold.
1944
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1945
Vries, Ary Bob de. Jan Vermeer van Delft. Basel, 1945: 56-57, 114-115, no. 23, pl. 49.
1946
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1948
National Gallery of Art. Paintings and Sculpture from the Widener Collection. Washington, 1948: 65, repro., as A Woman Weighing Gold.
1948
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1949
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1950
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1951
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1952
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1952
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1954
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1956
Walker, John. National Gallery of Art, Washington. New York, 1956: 44, color repro., as A Woman Weighing Gold.
1957
Shapley, Fern Rusk. Comparisons in Art: A Companion to the National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC. London, 1957 (reprinted 1959): pl. 53, as A Woman Weighing Gold.
1958
Goldscheider, Ludwig. Jan Vermeer: The Paintings. London, 1958: 22, 138, no. 21, pl. 51, color pl. 52.
1959
National Gallery of Art. Paintings and Sculpture from the Widener Collection. Reprint. Washington, DC, 1959: 65, repro., as A Woman Weighing Gold.
1960
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1960
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1963
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1963
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1963
Walker, John. National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.. New York, 1963: 100, repro., as A Woman Weighing Gold.
1965
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1966
Cairns, Huntington, and John Walker, eds. A Pageant of Painting from the National Gallery of Art. 2 vols. New York, 1966: 2: 256, color repro., as Woman Weighing Gold.
1966
Descargues, Pierre. Vermeer. Translated by James Emmons. Geneva, 1966: 93, 131, color repros. 87, 92.
1966
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1967
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1967
Koningsberger, Hans. The World of Vermeer 1632-1675. New York, 1967: 148, 152, 153, color repro.
1968
Kühn, Hermann. "A Study of the Pigments and the Grounds Used by Jan Vermeer." Report and Studies in the History of Art 2 (1968-1969):191-192, no. 17.
1968
National Gallery of Art. European Paintings and Sculpture, Illustrations. Washington, 1968: 122, repro., as A Woman Weighing Gold.
1970
Walicki, Michal. Jan Vermeer van Delft. Dresden, 1970: 32-37, fig. 49.
1971
Carstensen, Richard, and Marielene Putscher. "Ein Bild von Vermeer in medizinhistorischen Sicht." Deutsches Ärzteblatt-Ärtzliche Mitteilungen 68 (December 1971): 1-6, repro.
1972
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1973
Mistler, Jean. Vermeer. Collection Le Peintre et l’Homme. Paris, 1973: no. 19, repro.
1973
Walsh, John, Jr. "Vermeer." Bulletin of the Metropolitan Museum of Art 31, no. 4 (Summer 1973): unpaginated, fig. 75, as Woman with Scales.
1974
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1975
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1975
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1975
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1976
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1976
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1976
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1977
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1977
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1977
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1977
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1978
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1978
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1978
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1979
Snow, Edward A. A Study of Vermeer. Berkeley, 1979: 10, 34-36, 38, 44, 60, 62, 97, 126, 132-136, 138, 174-176, color repro. fig. 13; color details figs. 26, 51, 52.
1979
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1980
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1980
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1980
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1981
Slatkes, Leonard J. Vermeer and His Contemporaries. New York, 1981: 55-56, color repro., color detail.
1981
Wheelock, Arthur K., Jr. Jan Vermeer. New York, 1981: 41-42, 106-109, color pls. 22, 23 (detail).
1983
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1984
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1984
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1984
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1984
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1985
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1985
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1986
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1986
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1988
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1988
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1988
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1989
Montias, John Michael. Vermeer and His Milieu: A Web of Social History. Princeton, 1989: 162, 182, 191, 255-256, 261, fig. 30.
1990
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1990
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1991
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1991
Kopper, Philip. America's National Gallery of Art: A Gift to the Nation. New York, 1991: 195.
1991
Martz, Louis L. From Renaissance to Baroque: essays on literature and art. Columbia, Missouri, 1991: 32-33, fig. 12.
1991
Nash, John. Vermeer. London, 1991: 24, 26, 28, 39, 98-99, color repro.
1992
Fiero, Gloria K. The Age of the Baroque and the European Enlightenment. The Humanist Tradition 4. Dubuque, 1992: 47-48, fig. 22.10.
1992
Lucie-Smith, Edward. Art and Civilization. New York, 1992: 300-301, fig. 17.10.
1992
National Gallery of Art. National Gallery of Art, Washington. New York, 1992: 137, repro.
1993
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1993
Stoichita, Victor I. L'Instauration du tableau: Métapeinture à l'aube des temps modernes. Paris, 1993: 176-177, fig. 75.
1994
Asemissen, Hermann Ulrich, and Gunter Schweikhart. Malerei als Thema der Malerei. Berlin, 1994: 232-233, fig. 29.
1994
Brunette, Peter, and David Wills. Deconstruction and the Visual Arts: Art, Media, Architecture. Cambridge, England, 1994: 51, fig. 1.
1994
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1995
Bailey, Martin. Vermeer. London, 1995: 72-74, repro.
1995
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1995
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1995
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1995
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1995
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1995
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1995
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1995
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1995
Wheelock, Arthur K., Jr., and Ben P. J. Broos. Johannes Vermeer. Edited by Arthur K. Wheelock, Jr. Exh. cat. National Gallery of Art, Washington; Royal Picture Gallery Mauritshuis, The Hague. Zwolle, 1995: no. 10, repro.
1995
Wheelock, Arthur K., Jr. Dutch Paintings of the Seventeenth Century. The Collections of the National Gallery of Art Systematic Catalogue. Washington, 1995: 371-377, color repro. 373.
1995
Wheelock, Arthur K., Jr. Vermeer and the Art of Painting. New Haven, 1995: 96 color fig. 70, 97-103, detail and conservation figs. 71-73, no. A16, repro. 176.
1995
Wright, Christopher. Vermeer: catalogue raisonné. London, 1995: 56-57, repro.
1996
Chalumeau, Jean Luc. Vermeer, 1632-1675. Découvrons l'art - XVIIe siècle 1. Paris, 1996: no. 14, repro.
1996
Hertel, Christiane. Vermeer: Reception and Interpretation. Cambridge, 1996: 215-216, repro.
1996
Kersten, Michiel C.C., and Daniëlle H.A.C. Lokin. Delft masters, Vermeer's contemporaries: illusionism through the conquest of light and space. Exh. cat. Stedelijk Museum Het Prinsenhof, Delft. Zwolle, 1996: 204-206, repro.
1996
Kissick, John. Art: Context and Criticism. Madison, 1996: 21-22, fig. 1.7.
1996
Larsen, Erik. Jan Vermeer. Translated by Tania Gargiulo. Biblioteca d'arte. Florence, 1996: 99-101.
1996
Netta, Irene. Das Phänomen Zeit bei Jan Vermeer van Delft: eine Analyse der innerbildlichen Zeitstrukturen seiner ein- und mehrfigurigen Interieurbilder. Studien zur Kunstgeschichte 105. Hildesheim, 1996: 257, fig. 23.
1996
Wallis, Stephen. "Sketchbook: Knoedler Turns 150." Art & Antiques 19, no. 10 (November 1996): 18.
1997
Gebhardt, Volker. Kunstgeschichte Malerei. Cologne, 1997: no. 127, repro.
1997
Gowing, Lawrence. Vermeer. 3rd ed. London, 1997: 135-136, figs. 44-46.
1997
Niggemeyer, Margarete, and Hans-Walter Stork. Perlen schimmern auf den Toren: eine Auslegung des Perlensymbols in christlichen und ausserchristlichen Traditionen. Paderborn, 1997: 63, repro.
1997
Robinson, James. "Vermeer." Classical Realism Journal 3, no. 2 (1997): 12, 15 fig. 8.
1997
Robinson, James. "Vermeer, II." Classical Realism Journal 4, no. 1 (1997): repro. 46, 48.
1997
Scholz, Georg. Lyrische Bilder: Gedichte nach Gemälden von Jan Vermeer. Munich, 1997: 42, repro.
1997
Toman, Rolf. Die Kunst des Barock: Architektur, Skulptur, Malerei. Cologne, 1997: 465, repro.
1997
Wheelock, Arthur K., Jr. Vermeer: The Complete Works. New York, 1997: 36-37, no. 16, repro.
1998
Fiero, Gloria K. Faith, Reason and Power in the Early Modern World. The Humanistic Tradition 4. 3rd ed. New York, 1998: no. 22.10, repro.
1998
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1998
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1998
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1998
Schlenke, Hubertus. Vermeer, mit Spinoza gesehen. Berlin, 1998: 52-55, figs. 13a, 13b (detail), 94-99, figs. 21, 21a (detail).
1998
Sutton, Peter C. Pieter de Hooch, 1629-1684. Exh. cat. Dulwich Picture Gallery, London; Wadsworth Atheneum, Hartford. New Haven, 1998: 52-55, repro.
1998
Wheelock, Arthur K., Jr. A Collector's Cabinet. Exh. cat. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1998: 24, 26, fig. 14, 32, 68, no. 61.
1998
Wheelock, Arthur K., Jr. Johannes Vermeer (1632-1675): Sainte Praxède - Saint Praxedis. Collection de Madame Piasecka Johnson. Exh. cat. Musée de La Chapelle de la Visitation, Monaco, 1998: 8, 17 fig. 7, 28.
1999
Stokstad, Marilyn. Art History. 2 vols. Rev.ised ed. New York, 1999: 2:795-797, fig. 19-53.
1999
Sweet, Christopher. The Essential Johannes Vermeer. New York, 1999: 70-71, repro.
1999
Zeki, Semir. Inner vision: an exploration of art and the brain. Oxford, 1999: 27-29, 28 fig. 4.3.
1999
Zuffi, Stefano and Francesca Castria, La peinture baroque. Translated from Italian by Silvia Bonucci and Claude Sophie Mazéas. Paris, 1999: 208-209, color repro.
2000
Chapman, H. Perry. "Women in Vermeer's Home: Mimesis and ideation." Nederlands Kunsthistorisch Jaarboek 51 (2000): 254-257, repro.
2000
Kallenberg, Kjell, and Gerry Larsson. Människans hälsa: Livsåskådning och personlighet. Stockholm, 2000: cover repro.
2000
Savedoff, Barbara E. Transforming Images: How Photography Complicates the Picture. Ithaca, 2000: 11-14, repro.
2000
Wheelock, Arthur K., Jr. The Public and the Private in the Age of Vermeer. Exh. cat. Osaka Municipal Museum of Art. London, 2000: 10, repro. detail, 13, fig. 4, cat. 33, 182-184, repro., 201, no. 16, repro.
2001
Bal, Mieke. Looking In: The Art of Viewing. Critical voices in art, theory and culture. Amsterdam, 2001: 65-66, repro.
2001
Franits, Wayne E., ed. The Cambridge companion to Vermeer. Cambridge, England, and New York, 2001: 4-5, 54, 60-63, 68-69, 71-72, 122-126, 141, 143-144, 147-149, 154, 159-160, 170, 180, pl.15.
2001
Netta, Irene. Vermeer's world: an artist and his town. Pegasus Library. Munich and New York, 2001: 17, 84, repro.
2001
Wolf, Bryan Jay. Vermeer and the Invention of Seeing. Chicago, 2001: 167-170, repro.
2002
Bailey, Anthony. Vermeer. Translated by Bettina Blumenberg. Berlin, 2002: 148-149, repro.
2002
Kaufmann, Thomas DaCosta, ed. L'art flamand et hollandais: Belgique et Pays-Bas, 1520-1914. Paris, 2002: repro. 268, 302.
2003
Fowler, Alastair. Renaissance realism: narrative images in literature and art. Oxford, 2003: 10, fig. 15.
2003
Huerta, Robert D. Giants of Delft: Johannes Vermeer and the natural philosophers: the parallel search for knowledge during the age of discovery. Lewisburg, 2003: 47, 66, 68, repro.
2003
Vergara, Alejandro. Vermeer y el interior holandés. Exh. cat. Museo nacional del Prado, Madrid, 2003: 172-173, 254, repro.
2004
Cabanne, Pierre. Vermeer. Translated by John Tittensor. Paris, 2004: 164, 180, repro.
2004
Hand, John Oliver. National Gallery of Art: Master Paintings from the Collection. Washington and New York, 2004: 206-207, no. 163, color repro.
2004
Paskow, Alan. The paradoxes of art: a phenomenological investigation. Cambridge, 2004: 174-183, pl. 2.
2004
Salomon, Nanette. Shifting priorities: gender and genre in seventeenth-century Dutch painting. Stanford, 2004: 13-18, fig. 1.
2004
Wheelock, Arthur K., Jr. "Framing Vermeer." In Collected Opinions: Essays on Netherlandish Art in Honour of Alfred Bader. Edited by Volker Manuth and Axel Rüger. London, 2004: 232-238, repro.
2005
Alpers, Svetlana. The vexations of art: Velázquez and others. New Haven and London, 2005: 102-104, repro.
2005
Harris, Ann Sutherland. Seventeenth-century art & architecture. Upper Saddle River, New Jersey, 2005: 371, repro.
2005
Huerta, Robert D. Vermeer and Plato: painting the ideal. Lewisburg, 2005: 54, 55, repro.
2005
Lopes, Dominic McIver. Sight and sensibility: evaluating pictures. Oxford, 2005: 1-5, repro.
2005
Stokstad, Marilyn. Art History. Rev. 2nd ed. Upper Saddle River, 2005: 776, color fig. 19.64.
2006
Dekiert, Marcus. Alte Pinakothek: Holländische und deutsche Malerei des 17. Jahrhunderts. Munich, 2006: 19-21, color fig. 9.
2006
Franits, Wayne E. Pieter de Hooch: A woman preparing bread and butter for a boy. Getty Museum Studies on Art. Los Angeles, 2006: 30-32, fig. 29, 72 n. 25.
2006
Stone, Harriet Amy. Tables of knowledge: Descartes in Vermeer's studio. Ithaca, 2006: 125-131, pl. 14.
2006
Wheelock, Arthur K., Jr. "A Museum Curator’s Perspective." IFAR Journal: International Foundation of Art Research 8, no. 3-4 (2006): 96-97, repro.
2008
Dolnick, Edward. The Forger’s Spell: A True Story of Vermeer, Nazis, and the Greatest Art Hoax of the Twentieth Century. New York, 2008: 90-91.
2008
Liedtke, Walter A. Vermeer: the complete paintings. Ghent, 2008: no. 19, 118-121, repro.
2008
Lopez, Jonathan. The man who made Vermeers: unvarnishing the legend of master forger Han van Meegeren. Orlando, 2008: 53.
2009
Gariff, David, Eric Denker, and Dennis P. Weller. The World's Most Influential Painters and the Artists They Inspired. Hauppauge, NY, 2009: 83, color repro.
2010
Taylor, Paul. Vermeer, Lairesse and Composition. Hofstede de Groot Lectures 1. Zwolle, 2010: 6, 21, repro.
2011
Dekiert, Marcus. Vermeer in München: König Max I Joseph von Bayern als Sammler Alter Meister. Exh. cat. Bayerisches Staatsgemäldesammlungen, Alte Pinakothek. Munich, 2011: 48-53, no. 1, color repro.
2011
Henderson, Jasper and Victor Schiferli. Vermeer: The Life and Work of a Master. Amsterdam, 2011: 46-49, color ill.
2011
Nuechterlein, Jeanne. Translating Nature Into Art: Holbein, The Reformation, and Renaissance Rhetoric. University Park, Pennsylvania, 2011: 3, fig. 3.
2011
Wheelock, Arthur K., Jr., and Daniëlle H.A.C. Lokin. Communication: Visualizing the Human Connection in the Age of Vermeer. Japanese ed. Exh. cat. Kyoto Municipal Museum of Art; Miyagi Museum of Art, Sendai; Bunkamura Museum of Art, Tokyo. Tokyo, 2011: 46, fig. 14.
2011
Wheelock, Arthur K., Jr., and Daniëlle H.A.C. Lokin. Human Connections in the Age of Vermeer. Exh. cat. Kyoto Municipal Museum of Art; Miyagi Museum of Art, Sendai; Bunkamura Museum of Art, Tokyo. London, 2011: 46, fig. 14.
2011
Wieseman, Marjorie E. Vermeer's Women: Secrets and Silence. Exh. cat. Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge. New Haven, 2011: 82-85, repro.
2011
Wieseman, Marjorie E. Vermeer's Women: Secrets and Silence. Exh. cat. Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge. New Haven, 2011: 82–85, repro.
2012
Moser, Benjamin. "Mammonomania: A Reappraisal of Dutch Golden Age Paintings." Harper's 324, no. 1942 (March 2012): 73-75, color repro.
2012
Wheelock, Arthur K., Jr., Walter A. Liedtke, and Sandrina Bandera Bistoletti. Vermeer: il secolo d'oro dell'arte olandese. Exh. cat. Scuderie del Quirinale, Rome. Milan, 2012: 26, 27 fig. 5, 72 fig. 29.

Conservation Notes

The original support is a very fine, tightly woven fabric.[1] When the painting was lined, the format was enlarged about one-half inch on all sides by opening out and flattening the tacking margins. The composition was extended by overpainting these unpainted edges. Regularly spaced tacking holes and losses in the ground layer along the folds of fabric bent over the original stretcher confirm that these smaller dimensions were the original format.

A moderately thick, warm buff ground is present overall, and extends onto the tacking margins.[2] Examination has not shown evidence of an underdrawing but does show a brown painted sketch describing the forms with fine lines and indicating shadows with areas of wash. Microscopic examination shows a pinhole in the back wall near the balance, where the artist probably pinned strings to establish the orthogonals of the perspective system.[3] Both the ground color and the brown sketch influence the final image, the ground color warming the thinly painted flesh tones and hood and the brown sketch contributing shadows to the blue jacket. Vermeer blended finely ground, fluid paint with imperceptible brushstrokes and added rounded, thicker touches to create specular highlights. He softened some contours by overlapping paints and suggested others by leaving a thin line of brown sketch between two edges. No pentimenti are visible in the X-radiograph; an infrared photograph reveals a change in the position of the balance.

Small losses are found in the figure, small areas of abrasion in the dark passages. Discolored inpainting and varnish were removed in 1994. During this treatment, black overpaint covering the frame of the Last Judgment on the wall behind the woman was removed, revealing two vertical bands of yellow paint along the right side of the frame.[4] Overpaint that had been applied along the opened-out tacking margins when the painting was restretched on a larger stretcher has been removed. The painted image, now smaller, reflects Vermeer’s original intention. No pentimenti are visible in the X-radiograph; an infrared photograph reveals a change in the position of the balance.

 

[1] Average densities of 20.5 threads/cm horizontally and 16.5 threads/cm vertically were measured by the Thread Count Automation Project of Cornell University and Rice University (see report dated May 2010 in NGA Conservation department files).

[2] For pigment analysis of the paint layers see Hermann Kühn, "A Study of the Pigments and the Grounds Used by Jan Vermeer," in National Gallery of Art Report and Studies in the History of Art 2 (1968): 191–192. Kühn’s conclusion that the yellow of the curtain is Indian yellow is based on a sample taken from the overpaint near the edge of the painting. Subsequent pigment analysis of the ground was undertaken on June 26, 1974, by Robert L. Feller, Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, and by the NGA Scientific Research department using X-ray fluorescence spectroscopy and X-ray powder diffraction and optical microscopy (see reports dated September 30, 1994, and October 12, 1994, in NGA Conservation department files). See also Melanie Gifford, "Painting Light: Recent Observations on Vermeer's Technique," in Vermeer Studies, ed. Ivan Gaskell and Michiel Jonker (Washington, 1998), 185–199.

[3] For this practice in Vermeer’s paintings see Jørgen Wadum, "Vermeer in Perspective," in Johannes Vermeer, ed. Arthur K. Wheelock Jr. (New Haven and London, 1995), 66–79.

[4] The paint and ground layers in this area were studied by the NGA Scientific Research department using cross-sections (see report dated July 11, 1994, in NGA Conservation department files).

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