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Woman Holding a Balance, Vermeer (ASL)

Vermeer echoes the stillness of the instrument held lightly in the woman’s hands with a masterful balance of color, light, and shade throughout the composition. The scene is rendered with acute attention to detail and naturalism but also contains an allegorical subtext. The figure’s action of balancing the scales and her placement in front of a painting depicting the Last Judgment reminds the viewer to live a temperate and virtuous life.