OIL PAINTING: The Lacemaker, c.1669-1670
"The Lacemaker" is another small scale painting, nearly dwarfed by its impressive wooden frame. Unlike the more contemplative figures in Vermeer paintings, the subject here is very active, intensely focused on a physical activity. As opposed to the full-figure compositions, where furniture and drapery act to facilitate or deflect the viewer's visual entry, "The Lacemaker" brings the subject dramatically to the foreground. As a result, the viewer is drawn into a powerful emotional engagement with the work. Although the composition is quite shallow, there are different depths of field that draw the viewer into the canvas. The forms nearest the eye are unfocused, which encourages the viewer to pass on to the more distinctly defined middleground.