The Guitar Player (c. 1672) by Jan Vermeer

The Guitar Player - Jan Vermeer - c.1670 - c.1672

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Artwork Information

TitleThe Guitar Player
ArtistJan Vermeer
Datec.1670 - c.1672
MediumOil on Canvas
Dimensions53 x 46.3 cm
Art MovementBaroque
Current LocationKenwood House, London, UK

About The Guitar Player

“The Guitar Player” is an exquisite oil on canvas artwork by the Dutch Baroque master Jan Vermeer, created approximately between 1670 and 1672. This genre painting, which measures 53 x 46.3 cm, portrays a musician in the act of playing her instrument. Today, the artwork finds its home at Kenwood House, London, UK, where it continues to be admired for its craftsmanship and historical significance.

The artwork depicts a young woman seated in a domestic interior, engrossed in playing a guitar. The woman is adorned in a yellow jacket with white ermine fur trim, suggesting a sense of affluence or fashionability. Her eyes are downcast, focused on her instrument, conveying a sense of concentration and enjoyment. The guitar itself is detailed with a decorative rosette and inlaid patterns, its curvaceous body sitting comfortably in her grasp. The scene exudes a sense of quiet intimacy, indicative of Vermeer’s mastery of capturing tranquil moments within everyday life.

The setting includes a dark curtain to the right, which adds depth to the composition and contrasts with the subject’s illuminated figure. To the left, a painting within the painting hangs on the wall, depicting a landscape scene that provides a window to the outside world, yet keeps the viewer’s attention on the musician. The artwork’s use of light is characteristic of Vermeer’s technique, derived from the Baroque movement’s fascination with illumination and shadow, creating a balance between realism and drama. The artist’s refined depiction of textures, from the smoothness of the guitar to the softness of the fur and the woman’s creamy skin, attests to his exceptional ability to reproduce various surfaces and materials. This captivating portrayal not only illustrates a moment of musical engagement but also reflects the serene beauty of Dutch genre scenes during the 17th century.

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