OIL PAINTING: Lady Seated at a Virginal, c.1673
"There is hardly a detail in either of them ('Lady Standing at a Virginal' and 'Lady Seated at a Virginal') which does not contribute to the pervading emotional meaning which each conveys. From this standpoint these works may contain surprises for those who have become used to references in the literature of the subject to the dull pictures in the London Gallery.
Theophile Thore, who owned both of these pictures, called Vermeer the Sphinx. The reference is appropriate. But we may fancy Vermeer's role in the story was less that of a merciless examiner than victim, condemned to try at his peril to resolve a riddle, and to frame his own enigmatic answer to it."