Putting The 'High' in High Art: 'Woman Holding a Balance' by Johannes Vermeer

City Paper

No artist teases like Vermeer. His iconic ‘Woman Holding a Balance’ glows from within the haze of the paint. The daylight emerging through the window onto the gray wall, bubbling with subtle though complex color variations, feels more real than the gallery lights reflected on the real walls surrounding the canvas. The figure radiates a delicate solidity. While her wooden chest overflows with sparkling pearls and gold, she raises the balance at a deeply satisfying equilibrium, her hand floating in the center of the canvas. Even the dark, mildly threatening painting of The Last Judgment framing her head feels like a bouquet of flowers. At this proximity, Vermeer’s masterful naturalism becomes hypnotically surreal and so, so appetizing. 

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