Johannes Vermeer, Young Woman in Blue Reading a Letter
c. 1662 – 1665
Oil on canvas
46.5 x 39 cm. (18 1/4 x 15 3/8 in.)
The subject of the painting is a woman who is reading a letter in front of the window. It is not determined who is the letter from. She appears to be pregnant, however, it is not necessary the case, because the fashion of the day was to wear loose dresses. There is a map of the Netherlands on the wall which can indicate that she is reading a letter from a travelling husband.
This painting is composed on geometric figures and all objects on the picture are related. There are horizontal and vertical lines that divide the space and creating three-dimensional effect. On the wall there is linen, which appears to be “real” because of the shadow underneath, which shows us that there is a space between the linen and the wall. The same technique is used with other objects on the canvas. Shadows in this picture emphasize the space between objects and make it more realistic. Moreover we can see that there are several layouts. Difference between foreground and background also work to create space in the frame.