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Title Woman Holding a Balance, Johannes Vermeer
Library National Gallery of Art, Washington
Date c.1664
Description In this painting, a woman dressed in a blue jacket with fur trim stands alone before a table in a corner of a room. She holds a balance in her right hand and waits for it to come to rest. Behind her, on the back wall of the room, is a large painting of 'The Last Judgment' framed in black. On the side wall is a mirror. A blue cloth, some open boxes, two strands of pearls, a gold chain and a few coins lie on the table. A soft light, which passes through a window and its orange-yellow curtain, illuminates the scene. This painting has been interpreted as an allegorical scene that urges the viewer to conduct their lives with temperance and moderation. The painting within the painting potentially offers a clue - Christ's Last Judgment is echoed by the woman's own actions. Before her are earthly treasures; behind her is the symbol of the eternal consequences of her actions here on earth.
Document Type Painting
Primary Commodity Silver and Gold
Theme Social Practice; Trade and Commerce; Art and Literature
Keywords fur, clothes, jewellery, bullion
Region Europe
Copyright Johannes Vermeer, Woman Holding a Balance, Widener Collection, Image courtesy National Gallery of Art, Washington