How to Read Paintings: The Art of Painting by Johannes Vermeer

A subtle and complex allegory on the virtues of painting

Christopher P Jones
Jun 3, 2020 · 6 min read
The Art of Painting (1666–1668) by Johannes Vermeer. Oil on canvas. Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna. Image source Wikimedia Commons

The first thing to note about Vermeer’s remarkable image, The Art of Painting, is the tapestry that hangs along the left side of the painting. Notice how it has been drawn aside like a drape, and is also held back by a chair pushed up against it.