Technical Description

A Lady Standing at the Virginal

The fine, plain-weave linen support has a thread count of 14 x 14 per cm². The original tacking edges have been removed. Cusping is visible along top and bottom and very faintly along both sides. The support has been lined. The double ground consists of a pale gray beneath a pale, warm gray buff. The first layer contains lead white, chalk and charcoal black; the second contains lead white, chalk, and a red-brown earth.

The flesh color was painted with green earth over a pink layer; the shadows with two additional layers, a mixture containing green earth followed by a deep red shadow. The blue upholstery was underpainted with a a gray-blue layer; the highlights were modeled with a blue, then a pale blue layer and and the shadows with gray. The outlines or the tiles at the- bottom of the wall were scratched in the wet paint. A pinhole by which Vermeer marked the vanishing point is visible in the paint layer on the sleeve of the woman's dress.

There is some abrasion in the three paintings within the painting, in the lady's right cheek and the dark blue of her tunic, and in the blue upholstery. The ultramarine pigment in the darker blues of the chair has deteriorated.

* Johannes Vermeer (exh. cat., National Gallery of Art and Royal Cabinet of Paintings Mauritshuis - Washington and the Hague, 1995, edited by Arthur Wheelock)


inscribed at left below the upper
edge of the virginal: IVMeer
(IVM in ligature)