Girl Writing a Letter - Oil on Canvas

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The palette, symbolism and subject of this magnificent piece echo the well-known Dutch Golden Age painting, Girl Reading a Letter at an Open Window (1657-59) by Johannes Vermeer. However, some details suggest this may be a witty response to Vermeer's masterpiece. This piece appears to display a progression of female roles since the time of Vermeer. Not only is this subject taking an active rather than a passive role in writing the letter, rather than reading, she also appears to have discarded her expected 'female' tasks of needlework on the floor in favour of a more intellectual activity. In Vermeer's painting, the window is widely considered to symbolise the woman's desire to leave her domestic space, and its absence in this composition may suggest a step away from this sense of entrapment and longing. Similarly to the Dutch master's piece, we are given a side profile of the sitter. However, in this painting, the woman looks directly towards the viewer, with a shoulder exposed. A highly symbolic and playful depiction of the modernisation of gender stereotypes.

Artist Name: Unsigned

Approx Date: 1850 to 1870

Frame Size: H 70.5 cm x W 59.5 cm x D 5.5 cm

Canvas Size: H 61 cm x W 50.5 cm

Medium: Oil on canvas

Condition: Generally good. Some fine age-related craquelure. Small patches from the minor repairs. Please see the photos.

Weight: 2.4 kg

SKU: 1133

 

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