A Maid Asleep Analysis

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Johannes Vermeer’s “A Maid Asleep,” painted around 1657, is one of his earlier paintings, in which Vermeer experimented with “genre painting.” Although not particularly popular during his own time, he is now revered as one of the best Dutch artists. Perhaps his lack of recognition during the seventeenth century was due to the small amount of paintings he produced or the fact that only a small group of people bought his paintings in Delft, the city he lived in. The small group of people found his work noteworthy, however, despite his lack of formal training. Rather he learned his techniques by looking at other artworks sold by his father (Liedtke). After reading “A Key to Vermeer?” by Peter L. Donhauser and “Vermeer’s “girl Asleep”: A Moral Emblem” by Madlyn Millner Kahr, I realized that I had missed or misinterpreted a few objects or concepts in “A Maid Asleep.” Oddly enough, the object that I missed is the most important to Donhauser, so much so that he bases his whole journal on this one object: the key in the doorway. “In general, keys suggested duty, responsibility, and fidelity, ideas closely linked with the privilege of access” (Donhauser 89). Using examples from Nicolaes Maes’ “Eavesdropper on Two Lovers,” Account Keeper (The Housekeeper), “Old Woman Sleeping,” and “Vertumnus and Pomona,” Donhauser makes the case that a key is …show more content…
I inferred more and created my own version of what the painting is, which may coincide with what Donhauser and Kahr believe what the painting is, but nonetheless, it was mine. In an unintended way, Kahr agreed with Berger in that we must look for meaning in the actual objects itself (118). It is definitely interesting to not have anyone to tell you what to think, but in thinking for yourself, you can appreciate more or at least I

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