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Hidden items in Vermeer’s famous painting The Milkmaid

Experts have found a water jug ​​holder and basket hidden in Dutch master Johannes Vermeer’s famous painting The Milkmaid, the Rijksmuseum said on Thursday.

The discovery, painted almost 350 years ago, will shed new light on the enigmatic artist’s technique ahead of the museum’s largest ever exhibition of Vermeer’s work in 2023. guess.

Sophisticated scanning technology reveals that Vermeer originally painted extraneous detail beneath a plain white wall that accentuates the milkmaid’s bright yellow and blue outfit.

“This reveals a new and unexpected Vermeer. It’s amazing,” said Gregor Weber, head of art at the Rijksmuseum, at a press conference.
Vermeer’s change means that the iconic figure of the maid, seen in the painting pouring a stream of milk from an earthenware jug, “stands before us in a much more monumental way.” To do.
Researchers knew from X-rays performed about a decade ago that there was something hidden beneath the layers of paint in Vermeer’s Milkmaid, but what was it? I didn’t know.

One of the most important new discoveries revealed by the Rijksmuseum is that a 17th-century artist sketched a wooden holder for a jug on the wall just behind the milkmaid’s head.

They previously thought it might be a fireplace, but a new technique called short-wave infrared reflectance has revealed details in the jug and wood frame.
This technique is typically used for industrial inspection and military purposes.

Further investigation revealed that such a jug rack was mentioned in Vermeer’s mansion after his death. A very similar model of Holder can also be seen in his 17th-century dollhouse in the Rijksmuseum.

‘Less is better’

Another important discovery was that the shadow-like contours of some previously discovered baskets turned out to be “fire baskets” woven from willow.

Researchers also found a line of thick black paint “hastily applied” under the milkmaid’s left arm. This indicates that Vermeer made his first sketches quickly. Everything has been repainted by Vermeer for perfection.

The jug holder was replaced with a plain white wall, and the basket became a much smaller footstove finished in Delft blue tile.

The changes he made are important for his later work, including the iconic Girl with a Pearl Earring, which forms part of the exhibition.

“These steps influenced his entire work thereafter. He learned that less is more,” said Weber.

Little is known about Vermeer (1632-1675). Vermeer lived a simple life in the historic city of Delft during the Dutch “Golden Age” of painting.

Running from February 10 to June 4, 2023, the exhibition presents 27 of Vermeer’s only 35 paintings in his lifetime.

“This is the first and last time that so many Vermeer paintings have been brought together,” said Tako Divits, general director of the Rijksmuseum.

Tickets go on sale Thursday on the Rijksmuseum website.—AFP

https://www.kuwaittimes.com/hidden-items-found-in-vermeers-famed-milkmaid-painting/ Hidden items in Vermeer’s famous painting The Milkmaid

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