October 1, 2012
Virtual Exhibit Critique
Johannes Vermeer’s “Woman Holding a Balance”
The nationalgalleryofart.gov website features an artist by the name of Johannes Vermeer. Johannes Vermeer’s “Woman Holding a Balance” exhibit consists of that single art piece, which was created in 1664 with oil on canvas. This realistic piece of art shows a woman holding a balance, seemingly lost in her thoughts. In the background is a painting of “The Last Judgment”. Vermeer made it hard to perceive what the woman may be balancing, whether it is the gold chains and the strings of pearls that are lying on the table in front of her, or if it’s her thoughts that she is trying to balance out. That idea is up to the audience to decipher and debate.
Looking at the basic characteristics determines the artist’s style. Vermeer distinctly places background lines that fade into the vanishing which happens to be the woman’s finger, which helps in balancing the painting. In another attempt to balance the painting, Vermeer placed the balance point precisely in the middle of the painting. He also makes the woman a positive shape, meaning she is at the for-front of the painting, while the work of art and jewelry are perceived as negative shapes, meaning they are in the background. Vermeer also uses light to enhance this painting. The light seems to aggrandize the woman, making her the focal point of this work. He uses different types of paints to create wool like texture of the woman’s orange dress. He understood the concepts of different colors; for example, using the lighter color orange dress under the dark blue shawl, gave him a chance to lighten the painting. The size of the painting behind the woman suggests that the woman is small, actually making everything in the work smaller than it. Implied motion is shown in the painting also, by the woman holding the balance, in the process of waiting for it to reach equality. By combining these characteristics, one can determine...
Cited: Johannes Vermeer, Woman Holding a Balance, c. 1664, National Gallery of Art, Widener Collection
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