Het melkmeisje (The Milk Maid)1658-1660 by Johannes Vermeer

The Milkmaid is a monumental, majestic painting, despite its small size, because of its immense beauty, superior artistry and profundity of meaning and expression. This famous and extraordinary work depicts a maid pouring milk in a rather bare room enriched by her massively solid figure, the glorious still life on the table and the symbolism that resonates throughout the painting.

Perhaps the major question posed by the picture is...why is the maid so deeply saddened? Surely, the apparently simple task of beginning to pour milk from a pitcher into a bowl does not call for such profound sadness....

"...It felt as though I were standing in the room with the woman, watching her carefully pour the milk into the bowl."
Click to select the cover image for this artwork.
Media: oil on canvas
Dimensions (h/w/d): 17 16 (43 41)
Location: Rijksmuseum , Amsterdam