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Analysis of “Woman Holding a Balance”

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Analysis of “Woman Holding a Balance”

“Woman Holding a Balance” is an oil painting that was painted in the year 1664 by Johannes Vermeer.  I was in awe when my eyes first made contact with this beautiful painting. The painting is of a woman holding a balance that is used for weighing objects and symbolizing justice. The woman appears to be pregnant as her dress is protruding. The woman looks as if she is going to weigh pearls and other jewelry lying on the table in front of her.

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However, the balance is actually empty as if she is weighing something invisible. This leads me to believe that she is weighing her soul or spirituality to see if it is in balance due to the fact that she may soon be a mother. The jewelry box that is holding the pearls is lined with a red fabric.

The color red symbolizes passion. It tells me that she has a passion for material possessions and now trying to think about how she is going to balance her materialism with motherhood.

  Vermeer uses precise placement of the balance as it is placed directly in the center of the painting. There is a painting of “The Last Judgment” on the gray wall behind the woman which shows that she has Christian faith. Vermeer also uses lines of the painting to follow directly with the lines of the woman’s hands and blend with the balance. So it appears that the balance is coming from the picture.

The insight here would be that Christ is the only one who can give balance to her life. In the picture, Christ is directly above the woman’s head. In front of the woman is a window that sheds a light on the woman, balance, and the wall. Vermeer uses light to show a balance between darkness in the room and light. The color gray usually means gloom, but the light that shines through the window gives the gray wall a more mysterious and powerful meaning. There is a blue shiny fabric that appears to be a silk shawl or covering on the table where the jewelry is. Blue symbolizes peaceful which would confirm the painting as seeking or having peace. An example of where the artist uses space is how the bottom edge of the frame of the “Last Judgment” is higher in the front than behind her. It’s almost as if the painting has a shadow on the wall. This would symbolize how the woman would need to walk in Christ’s shadow to put her life on earth in perfect balance. “Woman Holding a Balance could be interpreted in so many different ways.

The presence of light, blending lines and space ensure that he carefully composed this painting with a focal point on the balance. The inclusion of the “Last Judgment” painting proves that the painting has a spiritual meaning. Since the woman is holding an empty balance, she is obviously trying to balance her spiritual presence on earth and the coming of her newborn as well as her Judgment Day. The woman doesn’t have a ring on her finger which could imply that she is not married and may be weighing her options of motherhood as well. There could be an offer of money for her newborn since it appears that she has a passion for material possessions. However it appears that she is calm and worry free which seems as if she is preparing or prepared for her judgment.

            Vermeer’s painting is very inspiring. I particularly enjoy this piece of artwork. His use of blending lines and glowing light allures me. Although this painting can be interpreted in many different ways, the artwork is clearly making a statement. Vermeer uses primary colors which are red, blue, and yellow. The primary colors are the most powerful colors of the color wheel. It is evidence that the painting has a powerful message. He also balances the positive and negative space. Vermeer is also very effective in balancing the darkness and light of his painting. Although one of the corners cast a dark shadow, he sheds light to balance it. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and I definitely see the beauty in “Woman Holding a Balance.”

Cite this Analysis of “Woman Holding a Balance”

Analysis of “Woman Holding a Balance”. (2016, Oct 30). Retrieved from https://graduateway.com/analysis-of-woman-holding-a-balance/

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