Phillip Wong // The Articles

The Milkmaid

17th April 2016

The Milkmaid by Johannes Vermeer

I’d been looking forward to visiting The Rijksmuseum since reading about Tim Jenison’s theory that Johannes Vermeer used optical devices to achieve his signature style. That Vermeer relied not only on talent but also mechanical aides was the premise behind Tim’s Vermeer, a documentary which follows Jenison’s attempt to replicate The Music Lesson using such an optical device. I highly recommend it, even if you have no interest in painting. Feel his pain as he spends weeks in a freezing shed painting little dots.

One of Vermeer’s most popular paintings, The Milkmaid, is one of the centrepieces of The Rijksmuseum. Take your place in the crowd and shuffle forward when a gap appears. When you get your time at the front, you’ll see that, indeed, Vermeer’s style is distinctive in real life with the very smooth lighting spread across a simple everyday scene.


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