OIL PAINTING: Mistress and Maid, 1670
The mistress, sitting at a table and turned to the left, wears the same yellow jacket with an ermine border as the Lady Writing a Letter. The maid interrupts her writing and hands her a letter. Both figures are close to the foreground, strongly illuminated, and standing out against the dark background, which lacks further adornment and remains undefined.
For Vermeer, Mistress and Maid is an unusually large composition, which focuses on a moment of interaction and interruption, rather than on a contemplation of stillness and introvert thoughtfulness. This new approach enhances the monumentality of the scene.