Shop art print and framed art Woman Holding a Balance by Johannes Vermeer

The artwork
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Subjects : Genre scenes
Keywords : Painting, allegory, gold, pearl, pregnant, scales, window
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Our recommendation for Woman Holding a Balance by Johannes Vermeer

To fully enjoy «Woman Holding a Balance» by Johannes Vermeer, we recommend the medium size (68x60 cm) printed on hand stretched canvas, with the gilded mouldings - thin frame.
The artwork

Woman Holding a Balance

Johannes Vermeer's Woman with Libra: an emblematic work by the artist

In the world of 17th-century painting, Johannes Vermeer occupies a special place thanks to his delicate, luminous works. Among these masterpieces, "The Woman with the Scales" remains one of the artist's most famous and intriguing creations.

The story of "The Woman in the Balance"

Johannes Vermeer made "The Woman with Libra" around 1664, at the height of the Dutch Baroque period, also known as the Dutch Golden Age. This was a golden age for the Netherlands, both economically and culturally, particularly in terms of painting. During this period, it became common to depict genre scenes, i.e. scenes from everyday life.However, Vermeer stood out for his innovative approach to this traditional theme, adding a more poetic and introspective touch.

"Woman with Scales" is among the artist's most famous works, no doubt due to the mysteries surrounding its creation and possible meanings. To this day, for example, we still don't know the identity of the woman depicted in the painting or Vermeer's precise intentions when he created the work.

A visual description of "The Woman with the Scales"

When contemplating "La Femme à la Balance", our gaze is first drawn to an elegantly dressed young woman, standing in a sober-looking interior. She is depicted weighing objects meticulously, with a balance held delicately between her fingers.Her peaceful expression and balanced posture convey great concentration and a certain serenity.

A closer look at the painting also reveals the presence of several symbolic elements. For example, behind the young woman is a painting depicting the Last Judgement, including the figure of Christ, inevitably recalling a religious dimension. The soft, diffused light distribution also helps to create an atmosphere imbued with spirituality.

Subtle work on colour and light

Johannes Vermeer was a master at depicting the play of natural light and meticulous colour work.In "The Woman with the Scales", he reaches a veritable pinnacle in this discipline. The subtle shades of blue, yellow and white, and the way the light reflects off the jewellery and fabrics, bring the scene to life and reinforce its realism. This mastery of light also attests to the artist's exceptional skill.

The role of "The Woman with the Scales" in Johannes Vermeer's career

"The Woman in Libra" occupies a major place in Vermeer's artistic development. Indeed, it is one of the works that helped to establish his style and signature within the Dutch pictorial tradition on a lasting basis.

A poetic approach to everyday life

While genre scenes were widespread in the 17th century, Vermeer was able to set himself apart with a more intimate and personal approach to these subjects. Rather than simply depicting traditional scenes of everyday life, he chose to emphasise the emotional and psychological dimension of his characters. In "The Woman with the Scales", this approach shines through in particular through the young woman's peaceful, concentrated expression, as well as through the presence of highly symbolic elements (the scales, the pearls and gold coins, the Last Judgement).

The influence of humanist culture

One of the keys to understanding Vermeer's work also lies in the evocation of the humanist culture that permeates several of his paintings. "The Woman with the Scales" is no exception to this rule: by portraying the universal theme of judgement and emphasising the quest for inner balance, the artist offers a reflection on the values and ideal of wisdom prevalent at the time.

A remarkable technique

"The Woman with the Scales" finally testifies to Vermeer's exceptional talent in the use of colour and light. Through meticulous and precise work, he managed to breathe incomparable life and depth into the scene depicted. This mastery earned him international renown and made him one of the greatest painters of his time. With its unsolved mysteries, its symbols and its captivating light, "The Woman with the Scales" thus remains a true icon of 17th-century Dutch art.


This artwork is a painting from the classical period. It belongs to the baroque style.


« Woman Holding a Balance » is kept at National Gallery of Art, Washington DC, USA.


Find the full description of Woman Holding a Balance by Johannes Vermeer on Wikipedia.

The artist

Johannes Vermeer

Explore the work of
Johannes Vermeer

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