A Woman Asleep (c. 1657) by Jan Vermeer

A Woman Asleep - Jan Vermeer - c.1656 - c.1657

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Artwork Information

TitleA Woman Asleep
ArtistJan Vermeer
Datec.1656 - c.1657
MediumOil on Canvas
Dimensions87.6 x 76.5 cm
Art MovementBaroque
Current LocationMetropolitan Museum of Art, New York City, NY, US

About A Woman Asleep

The artwork titled “A Woman Asleep,” created by the acclaimed Dutch artist Jan Vermeer around 1656-1657, is an exquisite example of Baroque art executed in oil on canvas. It measures 87.6 by 76.5 cm and is classified as a genre painting. The painting resides in the prestigious collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City, NY, USA, where it captivates audiences with its representation of daily life during the Dutch Golden Age.

“A Woman Asleep” portrays an intimate domestic scene capturing a young woman who appears to have dozed off at a table. The artist’s exceptional handling of light and shadow brings a sense of stillness and depth to the composition. The woman, dressed in an orange gown with a white collar, rests her head on her hand, her elbow stabilized on the table—a universal gesture of tiredness or deep contemplation. A richly colored Oriental carpet, alongside a jug, a bowl with fruits, and a wide-rimmed glass, adorn the tabletop, conveying a sense of material wealth and the tactile pleasures of the world.

Details within the room, such as the partially open door revealing another chamber within and the painting hanging on the wall behind the woman, suggest a broader narrative context that engages the viewer’s curiosity about her life and circumstances. Vermeer’s mastery in depicting contrasting textures and his nuanced narrative approach make this artwork a compelling example of his oeuvre and of seventeenth-century Dutch genre painting.

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