Picture of the month: an Ally to Seduction

WINE GLASS OF WINE or A LADY DRINKING AND A GENTLEMAN

Vermeer (1632-1675), ca. 1658-1660

Gemäldegalerie, Berlin, Germany

Women drinking wine are an essential incarnation of vice in the work of Vermeer. The artist elegantly portrays the private lives of silent, timeless women in a movingly naturalistic way. He would dedicate seven of his thirty-five known works to the negative effects of wine. In this image, wine is clearly represented as an instrument of seduction. The man hopes that the wine will act as an aphrodisiac, lifting the young woman's inhibitions and laying the groundwork for more intimate pleasures. The woman has just drained the glass of wine and the man seems impatient to pour her more, almost as if he is trying to get her drunk. A musical instrument, the cittern, lies on the chair with musical notebooks. But the figure of Temperance is depicted in the stained glass window, adding to the tension in the scene. The symbol, directly in the seated woman's eye line, is intended as a warning. )

Find out more and go to the work in its period setting  >> 

PREVIOUS PICTURES OF THE MONTH

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THE DRUNKARDS or THE FEAST OF BACCHUS (LOS BORRACHOS) Velázquez, 1628/29
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