The Music Lesson (c. 1662-1665) by Jan Vermeer

The Music Lesson - Jan Vermeer - c.1662 - c.1665

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Artwork Information

TitleThe Music Lesson
ArtistJan Vermeer
Datec.1662 - c.1665
MediumOil on Canvas
Dimensions64.5 x 73.3 cm
Art MovementBaroque
Current LocationRoyal Collection (Buckingham Palace), London, UK

About The Music Lesson

“The Music Lesson” is an exquisite work of art by the Dutch master Jan Vermeer, painted approximately between 1662 and 1665. Executed in oil on canvas, this genre painting is ensconced within the Baroque movement, and its dimensions are 64.5 by 73.3 centimeters. The artwork is presently housed in the Royal Collection at Buckingham Palace in London, United Kingdom.

The artwork depicts a domestic scene set in an elegantly appointed interior illuminated by natural light cascading through the window. Two figures, a young woman and her instructor, are the focal points of the composition. The woman is seated at a virginal, an early keyboard instrument, with her back to the viewer, attentively interacting with her music master. The latter is depicted standing to the right of the composition, holding a viola da gamba, a stringed instrument of the period.

Vermeer’s deft use of light enhances the textural quality of the scene, highlighting the richly decorated carpet, the polished sheen of the virginal, and the delicate ceramic of the jug on the table. Reflections in the mirror affixed to the back wall add a layer of depth and complexity, revealing a partially obstructed view of the young woman’s face and the upper portion of her instrument.

The precise arrangement of geometric patterns on the floor, the careful alignment of the furnishings, and Vermeer’s characteristic attention to detail create a harmonious and serene atmosphere. This is complemented by the calm, contemplative demeanor of the figures, evoking a sense of quiet concentration on the musical pursuit at hand. Overall, “The Music Lesson” stands as a testament to Vermeer’s mastery over light, composition, and the depiction of tranquil domestic scenes.

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