Johannes de Vermeer and his painting “La Dentellière” are among the paintings not to be missed when visiting the Louvre.

Renoir considered this masterpiece

La Dentelière is a painting by Johannes de Vermeer, a 17th century Dutch painter. Painted between 1669 and 1671, this painting, from the Baroque movement, depicts a lacemaker absorbed in her work. Renoir considered this masterpiece, which entered the Louvre in 1870, as the most beautiful painting in the world, along with the Pilgrimage to the Island of Cythera by Watteau, also kept in the Louvre. Painted on a white background, the main character of the scene stands out clearly from the painting. The artist wanted to place the lacemaker in the center of the work so that it attracts all eyes. The motif of the lacemaker at work is traditionally a sign of domestic virtue, tinged with religious moralism (the book, on the right, is probably a small Bible or a prayer book).

Vermeer ‘s painting, close to abstraction

On this painting, some historians think they identify the painter’s wife: Catharina Bolnes. His lemon yellow coat can be found on six other paintings by Vermeer. This same coat was also found in the inventory of the couple’s belongings. Contrary to popular belief, the board is no larger than an A4 copy sheet. This small size of painting, which is part of the smallest format produced by Vermeer, immediately establishes an intimacy with the viewer. The latter must approach as close as possible to the painting to see all its details. The genius of Johannes de Vermeer is to reproduce in his works the natural optical deformations specific to a human eye which observes, by creating several depths of field. Thus the center of our attention, the meticulous work of the lacemaker, is represented with great acuity of detail, and particularly the white thread, so fine, stretched between the fingers of the young woman. On the other hand, when we move away from the central point of our vision, the forms become more blurred whereas they are paradoxically in the foreground. The white and red threads escaping from the sewing cushion do not have the same precision at all, they are veritable flows of paint, close to abstraction, which intertwine.

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