Conservatorsremoved the added paint to restore it to its original size.
In the 1660s Vermeer painted pearls in two layers: first a thin, diffused grayish glaze, followed by a thick stroke on top to create a specular highlight. He may have experimented with a camera obscura to achieve these optical effects.
Vermeer maintained extraordinary control over his paints, working effectively with both dense impastos and thin glazes. The effect of soft light is achieved through subtle modulations in paint handling. Under high magnification, we can analyze how Vermeer represented light on different surfaces. Click on the three squares for a closer look.
The balance traditionally symbolizes justice--after all, to judge is to weigh. With nothing in its pans, it is not quite symmetrical, yet almost at equilibrium. In an exquisite passage of visual poetry, the woman's little finger echoes the horizontal arm of the balance and picture frame.
The woman with her blue robe expresses serenity. Her eyes are downcast; her gaze seems to be inward. Golden light falls on her ample belly, further emphasized by a yellow streak. Some contemporary authors speculate that the woman is pregnant, while others conclude that her costume--a short jacket, a bodice, and a thickly padded skirt--reflects a style of dress current in the early to mid-1660s.
In the Last Judgment, Christ in majesty judges the souls below in thi