[Preface: Spoilers about Girl with a Pearl Earring film in the post - You have been warned, Charcoalies!]
I had the fortune a few years ago to go to New York and visit the Metropolitan Museum of Art. I was intrigued to visit the museum, in particular to see some of the works of Vermeer. This was after Girl with a Pearl Earring came out; I was a huge fan of the film, and thus was introduced to the works of Vermeer through it.
This 17th century Dutch artist’s paintings of women connects in my African mindset. Here’s why:
This painting is in the Netherlands.
The composition of the painting is framed by the objects such as the jug that the milkmaid is holding and what looks like a lantern in the top left-hand corner.
I think what I love about this painting is the simplicity of the task she is performing. She is working hence why she is pouring the jug but the look on her face is a mixture of indifference and surprising serenity.
While the colours stand out due to their hues, there is a roughness to them that denotes her position as a servant. Not to say that she is rough, but that she is not privileged part of the upper class because her garments are rough.