Johannes Vermeer (1632-1675), 'Woman Writing a Letter, with her Maid', c.1670. © National Gallery of Ireland.
Johannes Vermeer (1632-1675), 'Woman Writing a Letter, with her Maid', c.1670. © National Gallery of Ireland. Credit

Woman writing a letter, with her maid by Johannes Vermeer

Year
c.1670
Size
71.1 x 60.5 cm
Medium
Oil on canvas
Provenance
Presented, Sir Alfred and Lady Beit, 1987 (Beit Collection)
Number
NGI.4535

Vermeer’s work displays an unprecedented level of artistic mastery in its illusion of reality. His figures are often quiet and inactive, contributing to the solemn and mysterious atmosphere of his paintings. This painting is one of the most ingenious compositions of Vermeer’s late career. While a maidservant stares out of a window, her mistress writes a letter. In the foreground on the floor, lie a red seal, a stick of sealing wax and an object which is probably a letter-writing manual, often used for personal correspondence at the time.

This work is currently on display in the exhibition Vermeer and the Masters of Genre Painting: Inspiration and Rivalry.

IMPORTANT NOTE: For visitors booking tickets for the exhibition Vermeer and the Masters of Genre Painting: Inspiration and Rivalry, please book your exhibition ticket online. If you are experiencing difficulties booking, email [email protected], or call 087 292 4 937 (between 9.15am and 5.15pm). Please note that due to high levels of traffic, it may take up to 24 hours to get back to you.