Chapter 4: A room in Vermeer's house

This chapter describes the starting point for Steadman's own researches into Vermeer's use of the camera. Two dozen paintings, the greater part of the artist's oeuvre, are of domestic interiors. A few of these show distinctive and unique spaces. But the majority seem to depict just a few rooms repeatedly, with sitters and furniture rearranged. It is possible to draw some tentative conclusions about how many rooms might be involved, by making an inventory of their architectural features: floor tiles, wooden ceilings, and characteristic patterns of leading in the window panes. As many as ten pictures seem - with a few anomalies - to represent the very same room.

Windows with a pattern of squares and circles in the leaded panes, in eight of Vermeer's paintings. A) The Glass of Wine; B) Girl with a Wineglass; C) Young Woman with a Water Jug; D) Woman with Lute; E) Lady Writing a Letter, with her Maid; F) Girl Interrupted at her Music; G) The Music Lesson; H) Woman with a Pearl Necklace

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