Woman with a Lute

Artist: Johannes Vermeer (Dutch, Delft 1632–1675 Delft)

Date: ca. 1662–63

Medium: Oil on canvas

Dimensions: 20 1/4 x 18 in. (51.4 x 45.7 cm)

Classification: Paintings

Credit Line: Bequest of Collis P. Huntington, 1900

Accession Number: 25.110.24


A young woman wearing an ermine-trimmed jacket and a large pearl earring looks eagerly out the window while tuning a lute. The viola da gamba on the floor and songbooks on the table anticipate company. The figure is set within counterpoised rectangles, but Vermeer’s subtle light and shadows draw a veil over the calculated design. The picture is abraded, especially in the foreground, where the paint has also darkened with age.