Artist: Johannes Vermeer (Dutch, Delft 1632–1675 Delft)
Date: ca. 1665–67
Medium: Oil on canvas
Dimensions: 17 1/2 x 15 3/4 in. (44.5 x 40 cm)
Credit Line: Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Charles Wrightsman, in memory of Theodore Rousseau Jr., 1979
Accession Number: 1979.396.1
This may be one of the three paintings by Vermeer that were described in an Amsterdam auction of 1696 as "A 'face' in an antique dress, uncommonly artful." Although a live model must have been employed, the artist's goal was not portraiture but a study of character and expression. Dutch pictures of this type, called tronies, often feature curious costumes and artistic effects, such as the fall of light on fine fabrics, soft skin, or a pearl earring.