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|Johannes (Jan) Vermeer, The Milkmaid, c 1650|
This lovely painting is so typically Dutch. The milkmaid is not a grand lady but is as dignified as any queen. It is technically a masterpiece. The handling of light is beguiling and the crumbly bread makes one long to take a piece!
Look closely at some of the details. Press Ctrl and + together to enlarge the picture and look for the nail in the back wall casting a tiny shadow; an exquisite piece of detail. Also find the broken piece of glass in the window and check out the brass lamp hanging behind the basket on the wall, the surface quality of which is superb.
The subject is viewed from a low-level giving her a sturdiness and a slightly squat look. Her arms are strong and she is completely unselfconcious. The texture of every surface is tenderly rendered in a homage to the 'everyday' scene. I can look right 'into' this picture for a long time a feel a wonderful peace.
It's in the Rijksmusem in Amsterdam where it is rightly one of the main attractions.