Girl with the Red Hat is one of Johannes Vermeer’s smallest works, and it is painted on panel rather than on his customary canvas. The girl has turned in her chair and interacts with the viewer through her direct gaze. Girl with the Red Hat is portrayed with unusual spontaneity and informality. The artist’s exquisite use of color is this painting’s most striking characteristic, for both its compositional and its psychological effects. Vermeer concentrated the two major colors in two distinct areas: a vibrant red for the hat and a sumptuous blue for the robe; he then used the intensity of the white cravat to unify the whole.
Following in his father’s footsteps, Vermeer also was an art dealer in Delft. There is no documentation of his artistic training or apprenticeship, but in 1653 he became a master in the Saint Luke’s Guild in Delft; he would serve as head of that guild four times in the 1660s and 1670s. Although he was well regarded in his lifetime, he was heavily in debt when he died in 1675. Only in the late nineteenth century did Vermeer achieve widespread fame for his intimate genre scenes and quiet cityscapes.
Girl with the Red Hat has a curious status among Vermeer scholars. Although this small panel painting is widely loved and admired, its attribution to Vermeer has been doubted, and even rejected, by some.
The attribution of Girl with the Red Hat to Vermeer has been doubted by Frithjof van Thienen, Jan Vermeer of Delft (New York, 1949), 23. The painting was rejected by P. T. A. Swillens, Johannes Vermeer: Painter of Delft, 1632–1675 (Utrecht, 1950), 65; Albert Blankert, Rob Ruurs, and Willem L. van de Watering, Johannes Vermeer van Delft 1632–1675 (Utrecht, 1975; English ed., Oxford, 1978), 167–172; Yvonne Brentjens, “Twee meisjes van Vermeer in Washington,” Tableau 7 (February 1985): 54–58; and Gilles Aillaud, Albert Blankert, and John Michael Montias, Vermeer (Paris, 1986), 200–201. For reactions to Blankert’s rejection of this painting, see the reviews by Christopher Brown (Christopher Brown, review of Albert Blankert, Rob Ruurs, and Willem L. van de Watering, Johannes Vermeer van Delft 1632–1675 [Utrecht, 1975], Simiolus 9 : 56–58) and Arthur K. Wheelock Jr. (Arthur K. Wheelock Jr., review of Albert Blankert, Rob Ruurs, and Willem L. van de Watering, Johannes Vermeer van Delft 1632–1675 [Utrecht, 1975], Art Bulletin 59 [September 1977]: 439–441). Benjamin Binstock has attributed Girl with a Red Hat to Vermeer’s daughter Maria Vermeer; see Benjamin Binstock, Vermeer's Family Secrets: Genius, Discovery, and the Unknown Apprentice (New York, 2009), 247–257, 253 repro.
For a comparative analysis of the paintings, see the entry on
Although only a portion of the tapestry is visible, it appears that two rather large-scale figures are depicted behind the girl. The patterned vertical strip on the right is probably the outer border. A. M. Louise E. Muler-Erkelens, keeper of textiles, Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam, relates this format to late sixteenth-century tapestries of the southern Netherlands. She also notes that the tapestries in Vermeer’s paintings belong to the same period (see her letter of May 7, 1974, to A. B. de Vries, copy in NGA curatorial files).
The pose of a girl looking over her shoulder at the viewer is commonly found in Vermeer’s oeuvre, although in no other instance does she lean an arm on the back of a chair. Nevertheless, similar poses are found in the works of Vermeer’s contemporaries.
The first art historian to note this discrepancy was Reginald Howard Wilenski, An Introduction to Dutch Art (New York, 1929), 284–285. He hypothesized that the peculiar arrangement of the finials arose as a result of Vermeer’s use of a mirror. His reconstruction of Vermeer’s painting procedure, however, is untenable.
The questions raised by the position of the chair and its spatial relationship to the girl have bothered observers of the painting in the past.
Albert Blankert, Rob Ruurs, and Willem L. van de Watering, Johannes Vermeer van Delft 1632-1675 (Utrecht, 1975; English ed., Oxford, 1978), 109, in particular, emphasizes the position of the finials in his arguments against the attribution of the painting to Vermeer.
The idea that Vermeer adjusted forms in such a manner is incompatible with those who believe that he totally and faithfully recorded his physical environment. P. T. A. Swillens, Johannes Vermeer: Painter of Delft, 1632–1675 (Utrecht, 1950), was the foremost proponent of this interpretation of Vermeer’s manner of painting. This attitude also underlies the writings about Vermeer by Albert Blankert.
Despite similarities in the way Vermeer adjusted his forms for compositional emphasis, the
The literature on Vermeer and the camera obscura is extensive. See in particular Arthur K. Wheelock Jr., Jan Vermeer (New York, 1981), note 41.
The hypothesis that Vermeer might have used a camera obscura while painting the Girl with the Red Hat was convincingly argued by Charles Seymour.
See Charles Seymour Jr., “Dark Chamber and Light-Filled Room: Vermeer and the Camera Obscura,” Art Bulletin 46 (September 1964): 323– 331.
He may also have recognized that the peculiarly soft quality of these unfocused highlights would beautifully express the luminosity of pearls. Thus even in paintings such as
One of the many misconceptions about Vermeer’s painting style that has affected theories regarding his use of the camera obscura, including that of Seymour, is that Vermeer was a realist in the strictest sense, that his paintings faithfully record models, rooms, and furnishings he saw before him.
This misconception lies at the basis of the interpretation of Vermeer’s use of the camera obscura advanced by Daniel E. Fink, “Vermeer’s Use of the Camera Obscura: A Comprehensive Study,” Art Bulletin 53 (December 1971): 493–505. See Charles Seymour Jr., “Dark Chamber and Light-Filled Room: Vermeer and the Camera Obscura,” Art Bulletin 46 (September 1964): 323– 331.
As suggested by Charles Seymour Jr., “Dark Chamber and Light-Filled Room: Vermeer and the Camera Obscura,” Art Bulletin 46 (September 1964): 323– 331.
Vermeer’s handling of diffused highlights in his paintings, including View of Delft (Mauritshuis, The Hague)
See inventory number 92, from Mauritshuis, The Hague.
The actual manner in which he applied highlights is comparable to that seen in The Art of Painting, c. 1667 (Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna).
See inventory number 9128, c. 1667, from Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna.
Vermeer usually painted on canvas, and it is interesting to speculate on the rationale behind his decision to paint on panel in this particular instance.
The only other panel painting attributed to Vermeer is the National Gallery of Art’s
Vermeer selected for his painting a panel that had already been used. The image of an unfinished, bust-length portrait of a man with a wide-brimmed hat lies under Girl with the Red Hat. It is visible in the X-radiograph [see
A photographic or digital image analysis method that visually records an object's ability to absorb or transmit x-rays. The differential absorption pattern is useful for examining an object's internal structure as well as for comparing the variation in pigment types.
A photographic or digital image analysis method which captures the absorption/emission characteristics of reflected infrared radiation. The absorption of infrared wavelengths varies for different pigments, so the resultant image can help distinguish the pigments that have been used in the painting or underdrawing.
Although it is impossible to attribute a painting to an artist solely on the basis of an X-radiograph, certain characteristics of the handling of the paint in the underlying image are remarkably similar to those seen in paintings by
Oil on panel, 38.5 x 31 cm, illustrated in Christopher Brown, Carel Fabritius (Oxford, 1981), pl. 3.
John Michael Montias, Vermeer and His Milieu: A Web of Social History (Princeton, 1989), 339, doc. 364. The term tronie had various meanings in the seventeenth century, but generally it denoted a small, relatively inexpensive bust-length figure study. Although such studies could have been commissioned portraits, most were probably figure types, or character studies, produced for the open market.
For another small painting in the National Gallery of Art collection where one artist has reused a panel previously painted by another artist by turning the image 180 degrees, see Follower of Rembrandt van Rijn,
Arthur K. Wheelock Jr.
April 24, 2014
upper center of tapestry in ligature: IVM
Marks and Labels
Possibly Pieter Claesz van Ruijven [1624-1674], Delft; possibly by inheritance to his wife, Maria de Knuijt [d. 1681]; possibly by inheritance to her daughter, Magdalena van Ruijven [1655-1682], Delft; possibly by inheritance to her husband, Jacob Abrahamsz. Dissius [1653-1695], Delft; (sale, Amsterdam, 16 May 1696, probably no. 39 or 40). Lafontaine collection, Paris; (his sale, Hôtel de Bouillon, Paris, 10-12 December 1822 [postponed from 27-29 November], no. 28). Baron Louis Marie Baptiste Atthalin [1784-1856], Colmar; by inheritance to his nephew and adopted son, Louis Marie Félix Laurent-Atthalin [1818-1893], Colmar and Paris; by inheritance to his son, Baron Gaston Marie Laurent-Atthelin [1848-1912], Paris and Château des Moussets, Limay, Seine-et-Oise; by inheritance to his wife, Baroness Marguerite Chaperon Laurent-Atthalin [1854-1931], Paris; (M. Knoedler & Co., New York and London); sold November 1925 to Andrew W. Mellon, Pittsburgh and Washington, D.C.; deeded 30 March 1932 to The A.W. Mellon Educational and Charitable Trust, Pittsburgh; gift 1937 to NGA.
- Loan Exhibition of Dutch Masters of the Seventeenth Century, M. Knoedler & Co., New York, 1925, no. 1.
- [Loan exhibition for the opening of the new building], Fogg Art Museum, Cambridge, 1927, no catalogue.
- A Loan Exhibition of Twelve Masterpieces of Painting, M. Knoedler & Co., New York, 1928, no. 12.
- Johannes Vermeer, National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.; Royal Cabinet of Paintings Mauritshuis, The Hague, 1995-1996, no. 14, repro.
- A Collector's Cabinet, National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., 1998, no. 60.
- Johannes Vermeer: The Art of Painting, National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., 1999-2000, brochure, fig. 11.
- Vermeer and the Delft School, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; The National Gallery, London, 2001, no. 74, repro.
- Vermeer: Il secolo d'oro dell'arte olandese, Scuderie del Quirinale, Rome, 2012-2013, no. 49, color repro.
- Thoré, Théophile E. J. (William Bürger). "Van der Meer de Delft." Gazette des Beaux-Arts 21 (October–December 1866): 567, no. 47 (a group of paintings), as Portrait of a Young Man.
- Hofstede de Groot, Cornelis. A Catalogue Raisonné of the Works of the Most Eminent Dutch Painters of the Seventeenth Century. 8 vols. Translated by Edward G. Hawke. London, 1907-1927: 1(1907):602, 46a.
- Hale, Philip L. Jan Vermeer of Delft. Boston, 1913: 359.
- Barker, Virgil. "A Trans-Atlantic Chronicle—No. 1." Arts 8 (October 1925 ): 222-227, repro.
- Borenius, Tancred. "Aus der Sammlerwelt und vom Kunsthandel." Der Cicerone 17, no. 2 (1925): 878.
- Borenius, Tancred. "The New Vermeer." Apollo 2 (July-December 1925): 125–126, repro.
- Constable, William George. "Review of Hausenstein 'Vermeer of Delft' (Das Bild Atlanten zur Kunst, 10. Munich, 1924)." The Burlington Magazine 47 (November 1925): 269.
- Flint, Ralph. "Rare Dutch Art in a Loan Exhibition." Art News 24 (21 November 1925): 3.
- Grundy, Cecil Reginald. "The Rediscovered Vermeer." The Connoisseur 73 (1925): 116, 119.
- G.-S, L. "Two Vermeers are Newly Discovered." Art News 23 (12 September 1925): 1.
- Lavallée, Pierre. "Un Tableau Inconnu de Vermeer: La Jeune Femme au Chapeau Rouge." La Revue de l’Art 47 (1925): 323–324, repro.
- M. Knoedler & Co. Loan Exhibition of Dutch Masters of the Seventeenth Century. Exh. cat. M. Knoedler & Co., New York, 1925: no. 1.
- Kauffmann, Hans. "Overzicht der Litteratuur betreffende Nederlandsche Kunst." Oud Holland 43 (1926): 235–248.
- Waldmann, Emil. "Ein neues Bild von Jan Vermeer van Delft." Kunst und Künstler 24 (1926): 186–187, repro. 174.
- Perkins, Harley. "Paintings by the Masters Lent for Fogg Opening." Boston Evening Transcript (18 June 1927): book section, 8, repro.
- Siple, Ella S. "Recent Acquisitions by American Collectors." The Burlington Magazine 51, no. 297 (1927): 303.
- "Amerika: New-York." Pantheon 1 (1928): 270, 272, repro.
- Brière-Misme, Clotilde. "Overzicht der Literatuur betreffende Nederlandsche Kunst." Oud Holland 45 (1928): 90–96.
- F. "Altmeister ausstellung bei M. Knoedler & Co. in New York." Der Cicerone 20 (1928): 373-374, 376, repro.
- "Illustrierte Berichte aus Amerika." Pantheon 1 (May 1928): 269-270, 272, repro.
- "Illustrierte Berichte aus Amerika." Pantheon 2 (October 1928): 521-522.
- M. Knoedler & Co. A Loan Exhibition of Twelve Masterpieces of Painting. Exh. cat. M. Knoedler & Co, New York, 1928: no. 12, repro.
- R. "Neuerwerbungen amerikanischer Sammler." Der Cicerone 20 (1928): 44.
- Lucas, Edward Verrall. Vermeer the Magical. London, 1929: vii-viii, repro.
- Wilenski, Reginald Howard. An Introduction to Dutch Art. New York, 1929: 284-286.
- Henkel, M. D. "Overzicht der literatuur betreffende Nederlandsche kunst." Oud Holland 48 (November 1931): 278-288.
- Valentiner, Wilhelm R. "Zum 300. Geburtstag Jan Vermeers, Oktober 1932: Vermeer und die Meister der Holländischen Genremalerei." Pantheon 5 (October 1932): 305-324.
- Alexandre, Arsène. "Nouveaux aperçus sur Vermeer." L’Art et les Artistes 27 (February 1933): 145-173, repro.
- Watson, Forbes. "A World Without Elegance." Parnassus 7 (1935): 3–8, 48, repro.
- Cortissoz, Royal. An Introduction to the Mellon Collection. Boston, 1937: 40.
- Crowninshield, Frank. "The Singular Case of Andrew W. Mellon." Vogue (April 1937): 74-78, 142-143, color repro.
- Hale, Philip Leslie. Vermeer. Edited by Frederick W. Coburn and Ralph T. Hale. Boston and New York, 1937: vii, no. 22, 132-133, pl. 22.
- Jewell, Edward Alden. "Mellon's Gift." Magazine of Art 30, no. 2 (February 1937): 82.
- Plietzsch, Eduard. Vermeer van Delft. Munich, 1939: 29, 51, 62, no. 38, pl. 26.
- Vries, Ary Bob de. Jan Vermeer van Delft. Bibliotheek der Nederlandsche Kunst. Amsterdam, 1939: 48, 89, no. 29, pl. 53.
- Bloch, Vitale. "Vermeer." Maandblad voor Beeldende Kunsten 17 (1940): 3-8.
- Goldscheider, Ludwig. The Paintings of Jan Vermeer. Oxford and New York, 1940: 14, pl. 39.
- Held, Julius S. "Masters of Northern Europe, 1430-1660, in the National Gallery." Art News 40, no. 8 (June 1941): 15, repro.
- Preliminary Catalogue of Paintings and Sculpture. National Gallery of Art., Washington, 1941: 208, no. 53.
- Book of Illustrations. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1942: 240, repro. 33.
- Mir, M. Jan Vermeer de Delft. Biblioteca argentina de arte. Buenos Aires, 1942: 62, no. 41, repro.
- Encina, Juan de la (Ricardo Gutiérrez Abascal). Las pinturas de la Galería nacional de arte de Washington. Mexico City, 1944: 58, color repro.
- Vries, Ary Bob de. Jan Vermeer van Delft. Basel, 1945: 58, 117, no. 29, pl. 54.
- Wilenski, Reginald Howard. Dutch Painting. Revised ed. London, 1945: 178, 187.
- Blum, André. Vermeer et Thoré-Burger. Geneva, 1946: 195, repro.
- Bertram, Anthony. Jan Vermeer of Delft. London, 1948: repro. xxxvii.
- Vries, Ary Bob de. Jan Vermeer van Delft. Translated by Robert Allen. Revised ed. London and New York, 1948: 40, 90, pl. 22.
- National Gallery of Art. Paintings and Sculpture from the Mellon Collection. Washington, 1949 (reprinted 1953 and 1958): 94, repro.
- Review of Professor van Thiereu [sic] Jan Vermeer of Delft (London, 1949). In Apollo, (January 1950): 30.
- Thienen, Frithjof van. Jan Vermeer of Delft. Masters of Painting. New York, 1949: 23, no. 25, repro.
- Swillens, P. T. A. Johannes Vermeer: Painter of Delft, 1632–1675. Translated by C.M. Breuning-Williamson. Utrecht, 1950: 65, no. G.
- T., R.S. "Art and Collector Books: Review of Frithjof van Thienen, Jan Vermeer of Delft." Apollo (January 1950): 30.
- Cairns, Huntington, and John Walker, eds., Great Paintings from the National Gallery of Art. Translated. New York, 1952: 102, color repro.
- Fierens, Paul. Jan Vermeer de Delft, 1632-1675. Paris, 1952: no. 48, repro.
- Gowing, Lawrence. Vermeer. London, 1952: 21, 55-56, 145-147, no. xxvii, pl. 57.
- Malraux, André, ed. Vermeer de Delft. Paris, 1952: 21-22, repro. (detail), 94, 96, no. xxvii, 104, color repro.
- Bloch, Vitale. Tutta la Pittura di Vermeer di Delft. Milan, 1954: 27-28, 35, pl. 56.
- Walker, John. National Gallery of Art, Washington. New York, 1956: 10, repro.
- Henno, Louis, and Jean Decoen. Vermeer de Delft: une affaire scandaleuse de vrais et de faux tableaux. Lecahier des arts. Bruxelles, 1958: 32.
- Baird, Thomas P. Dutch Painting in the National Gallery of Art. Ten Schools of Painting in the National Gallery of Art 7. Washington, 1960: 38, 39, color repro.
- Greindl, Edith. Jan Vermeer, 1632-1675. Milan, 1961: 38, color repro.
- Reitlinger, Gerald. The Rise and Fall of Picture Prices 1760-1960. (Vol. 1 of The Economics of Taste). London, 1961: 484.
- Brion, Marcel. Vermeer. London, 1962: 55, color repro., 61.
- Gowing, Lawrence. Jan Vermeer. New York, 1962: 65, 76, color repro.
- Bloch, Vitale. All the Paintings of Jan Vermeer. Translated by Michael Kitson. The Complete Library of World Art 15. New York, 1963: 27-28, 35, pl. 56.
- Walker, John. National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C. New York, 1963 (reprinted 1964 in French, German, and Spanish): 315, repro., 346.
- Seymour, Charles, Jr. "Dark Chamber and Light-Filled Room: Vermeer and the Camera Obscura." Art Bulletin 46, no. 3 (September, 1964): 323-331.
- National Gallery of Art. Summary Catalogue of European Paintings and Sculpture. Washington, 1965: 135.
- Cairns, Huntington, and John Walker, eds. A Pageant of Painting from the National Gallery of Art. 2 vols. New York, 1966: 2: 260, color repro., as The Girl with a Red Hat.
- Descargues, Pierre. Vermeer. Translated by James Emmons. Geneva, 1966: 132-133, color repro. 103.
- Emiliani, Andrea. Vermeer (1632-1675). Milan, 1966: 9, 30, 31 pl. 11.
- Rosenberg, Jakob, Seymour Slive, and Engelbert H. ter Kuile. Dutch Art and Architecture: 1600–1800. Pelican History of Art. Baltimore, 1966: 122.
- Bianconi, Piero. The Complete Paintings of Vermeer. New York, 1967: 84, repro., 94-95, no. 32, color pl. xl.
- Koningsberger, Hans. The World of Vermeer 1632-1675. New York, 1967: 142-143, repro.
- 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): 195, no. 21.
- National Gallery of Art. European Paintings and Sculpture, Illustrations. Washington, 1968: 122, repro.
- Mittelstädt, Kuno. Jan Vermeer van Delft. Welt der Kunst. Berlin, 1969: 15, 44, color repro.
- Walicki, Michal. Jan Vermeer van Delft. Dresden, 1970: 39-40, 125, fig. 56.
- Fahy, Everett, and Francis John Bagott Watson. The Wrightsman Collection. Vol. 5: Paintings, drawings, sculpture. New York, 1973: 313-314, repro.
- Mistler, Jean. Vermeer. Collection Le Peintre et l’Homme. Paris, 1973: 45-46, no. 29, color repro.
- Sonnenburg, Hubertus von. "Technical Comments." Bulletin of the Metropolitan Museum of Art 31, no. 4 (Summer 1973): unpaginated, figs. 93 and 94 (details).
- Walsh, John, Jr. "Vermeer." Bulletin of the Metropolitan Museum of Art 31, no. 4 (Summer 1973): unpaginated, figs. 37 and 38 (details).
- Grimme, Ernst Günther. Jan Vermeer van Delft. Cologne, 1974: 61, no. 21, fig. 13.
- Blankert, Albert. Johannes Vermeer van Delft, 1632-1675. Utrecht, 1975: 108-110, 167-168, 202, repro.
- National Gallery of Art. European paintings: An Illustrated Summary Catalogue. Washington, 1975: 362, repro.
- Walker, John. National Gallery of Art, Washington. New York, 1975: 304, no. 407, repro.
- Wright, Christopher. Vermeer. London, 1976: 12, 46, repro. no. 20, 78, 81, 84-85.
- Wheelock, Arthur K., Jr. Perspective, Optics, and Delft Artists around 1650. Outstanding dissertations in the fine arts. New York, 1977: 292, 298, repro. 99.
- Blankert, Albert. Vermeer of Delft: Complete Edition of the Paintings. Oxford, 1978: 73-74, 172, cat. B.3, color repro.
- Wheelock, Arthur K., Jr. "Zur Technik zweier Bilder, die Vermeer zugeschrieben sind." Maltechnik-Restauro 84 (1978): 242-257, repros.
- Slatkes, Leonard J. Vermeer and His Contemporaries. New York, 1981: 97, color repro.
- Wheelock, Arthur K., Jr. Jan Vermeer. New York, 1981: 39, 47, 130, color pl. 34, 132, 144, 156, 162 nn. 93-96.
- Wheelock, Arthur K., Jr. "Northern Baroque." In Encyclopedia of World Art 17 vols. Bernard S. Myers, ed. Palatine, Illinois, 1983: 16 (supplement):198, pl. 45, color repro.
- Pops, Martin. Vermeer: Consciousness and the Chamber of Being. Studies in the Fine Arts. Ann Arbor, 1984: 68, repro. 69, 71, 76, 96, 99, 103.
- Rosenberg, Jakob, Seymour Slive, and Engelbert H. ter Kuile. Dutch Art and Architecture. The Pelican History of Art. Revised ed. Harmondsworth, 1984: 122.
- Walker, John. National Gallery of Art, Washington. Rev. ed. New York, 1984: 304, no. 402, color repro.
- Brentjens, Yvonne. "Twee meisjes van Vermeer in Washington." Tableau 7 (February 1985): 54-58, repro.
- National Gallery of Art. European Paintings: An Illustrated Catalogue. Washington, 1985: 420, repro.
- Pelfrey, Robert H., and Mary Hall-Pelfrey. Art and Mass Media. New York, 1985: fig. 8.
- Aillaud, Gilles, Albert Blankert, and John Michael Montias. Vermeer. Paris, 1986: 200, 201, cat. b3, repro.
- Sutton, Peter C. A Guide to Dutch Art in America. Washington and Grand Rapids, 1986: 311-312.
- Wheelock, Arthur K., Jr. "The Art Historian in the Laboratory: Examinations into the History, Preservation, and Techniques of 17th Century Dutch Painting." In The Age of Rembrandt : studies in seventeenth-century Dutch painting. Papers in art history from the Pennsylvania State University 3. Edited by Roland E. Fleischer and Susan Scott Munshower. University Park, PA, 1988: 220, 239 fig. 9-22, 240 fig. 9-23 (X-ray), 241 fig. 9-24 (infrared photo).
- Montias, John Michael. Vermeer and His Milieu: A Web of Social History. Princeton, 1989: 265-266.
- Liedtke, Walter A. "Dutch Paintings in America: The Collectors and their Ideals." In Great Dutch Paintings from America. Edited by Ben P.J. Broos. Exh. cat. Royal Picture Gallery Mauritshuis, The Hague; Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco. The Hague and Zwolle, 1990: 51.
- Liedtke, Walter A. "Dutch Paintings in America: The Collectors and their Ideals." In Great Dutch Paintings from America. Edited by Ben P.J. Broos. Exh. cat. Royal Picture Gallery Mauritshuis, The Hague; Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco. Zwolle, 1990: 51.
- Kopper, Philip. America's National Gallery of Art: A Gift to the Nation. New York, 1991: 63, 67, color repro.
- Grèce, Michel de. Portrait et séduction. Paris, 1992: 145, repro.
- Schneider, Norbert. Jan Vermeer 1632-1675: Verhüllung der Gefühle. Cologne, 1993: 72, 95, no. 73, repro.
- Knafou, Rémy. Vermeer: mystère du quotidien. Paris, 1994: 9, repro.
- Bailey, Martin. Vermeer. London, 1995: 88-89, color repro.
- 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. 14, repro.
- Wheelock, Arthur K., Jr. Dutch Paintings of the Seventeenth Century. The Collections of the National Gallery of Art Systematic Catalogue. Washington, 1995: 382-387, color repro. 383.
- Wheelock, Arthur K., Jr. Vermeer and the Art of Painting. New Haven, 1995: 119, 120 color fig. 84, 121-127, detail and conservation figs. 85, 87, 88, 89a, 89b, no. A23, repro. 180.
- Wright, Christopher. Vermeer: catalogue raisonné. London, 1995: no. 21, 42-44, color repro.
- Chalumeau, Jean Luc. Vermeer, 1632-1675. Découvrons l'art - XVIIe siècle 1. Paris, 1996: no.16, repro.
- Larsen, Erik. Jan Vermeer. Translated by Tania Gargiulo. Biblioteca d'arte. Florence, 1996: no. A 7, 119, repro.
- 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: 251, fig. 17.
- Gowing, Lawrence. Vermeer. 3rd ed. London, 1997: no. 57, 145-147, repro.
- Robinson, James. "Vermeer." Classical Realism Journal 3, no. 2 (1997): 4, 13 fig. 1.
- Wheelock, Arthur K., Jr. Vermeer: The Complete Works. New York, 1997: 50-51, no. 23, repro.
- Gifford, Melanie E. "Painting Light: Recent Observations on Vermeer's Technique." In Vermeer Studies. Edited by Ivan Gaskell and Michiel Jonker. Studies in the History of Art 55 (1998): 185-199, fig. 3.
- McLellan, Diana. "Really Big Shows." Washingtonian 33, no. 11 (August 1998): 70.
- Montias, John Michael. "Recent archival research on Vermeer." in Vermeer Studies. Edited by Ivan Gaskell and Michiel Jonker. Studies in the History of Art 55. Washington, 1998: 185-199.
- Robinson, James. "Vermeer, Part III." Classical Realism Journal 4, no. 2 (1998): 58-67, repro. back cover.
- Wheelock, Arthur K., Jr. A Collector's Cabinet. Exh. cat. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1998: 68, no. 60.
- Sweet, Christopher. The Essential Johannes Vermeer. New York, 1999: 80-81, repro.
- Wheelock, Arthur K., Jr., and Mari Griffith. Johannes Vermeer: The Art of Painting. Exhibition brochure. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1999: fig. 11.
- Zuffi, Stefano and Francesca Castria, La peinture baroque. Translated by Silvia Bonucci and Claude Sophie Mazéas. Paris, 1999: 208, color repro.
- Wheelock, Arthur K., Jr. The Public and the Private in the Age of Vermeer. Exh. cat. Osaka Municipal Museum of Art. London, 2000: 202, no. 21, repro.
- Franits, Wayne E., ed. The Cambridge companion to Vermeer. Cambridge, England, and New York, 2001: 163, 172, 173, 180, pl. 22.
- Liedtke, Walter A., Michiel Plomp, and Axel Rüger. Vermeer and the Delft school. Exh. cat. Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; National Gallery, London. New Haven, 2001: no. 74, 386-389, repro.
- Netta, Irene. Vermeer's world: an artist and his town. Pegasus Library. Munich and New York, 2001: 33, 86, repro.
- Southgate, M. Therese. The Art of JAMA II: Covers and Essays from The Journal of the American Medical Association. Chicago, 2001: 56-57, color repro.
- Steadman, Philip. Vermeer's camera: uncovering the truth behind the masterpieces. Oxford, 2001: 160-161, repro.
- Bailey, Anthony. Vermeer. Translated by Bettina Blumenberg. Berlin, 2002: color repro. between 160 and 161.
- Huerta, Robert D. Giants of Delft: Johannes Vermeer and the natural philosophers: the parallel search for knowledge during the age of discovery. Lewisburg, 2003: 45, 46, repro., 49, 51, 99, 102,103.
- Vergara, Alejandro. Vermeer y el interior holandés. Exh. cat. Museo nacional del Prado, Madrid, 2003: 176-177, 255-256, color repro.
- Hand, John Oliver. National Gallery of Art: Master Paintings from the Collection. Washington and New York, 2004: 208-209, no. 164, color repro.
- Fahy, Everett, ed. The Wrightsman Pictures. New Haven, 2005: 134-135, under cat. 37, fig. 4.
- Huerta, Robert D. Vermeer and Plato: painting the ideal. Lewisburg, 2005: 42-43, repro.
- Wright, Christopher. Vermeer. Revised ed. London, 2005: 50-52, color repro.
- Dolnick, Edward. The Forger’s Spell: A True Story of Vermeer, Nazis, and the Greatest Art Hoax of the Twentieth Century. New York, 2008: 107, 134.
- Liedtke, Walter A. Vermeer: the complete paintings. Ghent, 2008: no. 24, 136-139, color repro.
- Lopez, Jonathan. The man who made Vermeers: unvarnishing the legend of master forger Han van Meegeren. Orlando, 2008: 53, 55, 104, 175.
- Wheelock, Arthur K., Jr. "Die Malkunst." In Vermeer, die Malkunst: Spurensicherung an einem Meisterwerk = Vermeer, the Art of Painting: Scrutiny of a Picture. Edited by Sabine Haag, Elke Oberthaler and Sabine Pénot. Catalog in German, essays also translated into English. Exh. cat. Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna, 2010: 32-33 (German), fig. 6, 268 (English).
- Henderson, Jasper and Victor Schiferli. Vermeer: The Life and Work of a Master. Amsterdam, 2011: 56-57, color ill.
- Humphries, Oscar, ed. “Listings: Agenda, 7.” Apollo 176, no. 602 (October 2012): 25, color repro.
- Percival, Melissa. Fragonard and the Fantasy Figure: Painting the Imagination. Burlington, Vt., 2012: 58, fig. 2.7.
- Tummers, Anna. The Eye of the Connoisseur: Authenticating Paintings by Rembrandt and His Contemporaries. Amsterdam, 2012: 28, 29, 30, color fig. 9.
- 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: no. 49, 216-217, color repro.
- Krempel, León. "Allegorische Tronie-Paare bei Johannes Vermeer." in Tronies: das Gesicht in der frühen Neuzeit. Edited by Dagmar Hirschfelder and León Krempel. Berlin, 2014: 97-107, 112, 122, color pl. 9, as "Ecclesia."
The support is a single wood plank, probably oak, with a vertical grain. A cradle, including a wooden collar around all four sides of the panel, was attached before the painting entered the collection. A partially completed painting exists underneath the present composition oriented 180 degrees with respect to the girl. The X-radiograph reveals the head-and-shoulders portrait of a man wearing a white kerchief around his neck and a button on his garment. Infrared reflectography at 1.1 to 2.5 microns shows a cape across his shoulder, a broad-brimmed hat, locks of long curling hair, and vigorous brushwork in the background.
The panel was initially prepared with a light tan double ground. The male bust was executed in a dark brown painted sketch, before flesh tones were applied to the face and white to the kerchief. The portrait of the young girl was painted directly over the underlying composition, with the exception of the area of the man’s kerchief, which Vermeer apparently toned down with a brown paint.
The paint used to model the girl was applied with smoothly blended strokes. Layered applications of paint of varying transparencies and thicknesses, often blended wet-into-wet, produced soft contours and diffused lighting effects. The paint in the white kerchief around the girl’s neck has been scraped back to expose darker paint below.
The painting was treated in 1994 to remove discolored varnish and inpaint. The treatment revealed the painting to be in excellent condition with just a few minor losses along the edges. The painting had been treated previously in 1933, probably by Louis de Wild, and in 1942 by Frank Sullivan.
 Infrared reflectography was performed with a Santa Barbara focal plane array InSb camera fitted with H, J, and K astronomy filters.
 The lower ground consists of calcium carbonate, the upper ground of white lead lightly toned with earth and black (see Melanie Gifford, "Painting Light: Recent Observations on Vermeer's Technique," in Vermeer Studies, ed. Ivan Gaskell and Michiel Jonker [Washington, D.C., 1998], 185–199).
Related IconClass Terms
- looking over the shoulder
- expressive conotations
- camera obscura
- historical person +Carel Fabritius