Young Woman with a Water Pitcher

The essential subject of this serene picture is an ideal woman in an ideal home. Her head and elegant costume are covered by linen scarves, which with the silver-gilt basin and pitcher and the open window suggest ablutions at the beginning of the day. A string of pearls emerges from the jewelry box. Balanced shapes and colors (mainly the primaries) enhance the harmonious mood. Works by Vermeer were newly known and coveted by American collectors of the Gilded Age.

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