Z = Zittende virginaalspeelster

I saved the most beautiful one for last: The Lady seated at a virginal.

Johannes Vermeer – Lady seated at the virginal


Female keyboard players were a popular subject in 17th-century Dutch art. Music making was often associated with love and at times with amorous seduction. For example, in verses by Jacob Westerbaen we read: “learn to play the lute, the clavichord. The strings have the power to caress the heart.” The virginals, however, had highly civilized connotations since it was habitually played by a woman in the context of family or musical gatherings, thus, being used most often by artists as a symbol of harmony and concord.
The unattended viol da gamba in the foreground further strengthens the association with harmony. The woman, like the male musician in Jacob Cats’ well-known emblem “Quid Non Sentit Amor” (see detail above), plays her instrument while a second lies unused. The emblem’s text explains that the resonance of one lute echoes onto the other just as two hearts can exist in harmony even if they are separated. 17th Century eyes would have recognized the symbolism in the painting.


Music in Vermeers paintings

 The fact that Vermeer portrayed so many musical themes is not surprising in itself, “at least ten percent of all 17th-century paintings, music makes its appearance in one way or another. In genre pieces, in which category Vermeer’s work is generally placed, the percentage is even higher. For example, about 20 per cent of Frans van Mieris’ works, 25 per cent of Pieter de Hoogh’s and almost half of Jacob Ochtervelt’s deal in some way with music.”

Dutch painting experts generally believe that underneath Vermeer’s seemingly straightforward portrayals of young people engaged in a pleasurable pastime lies another level of meaning which can be understood only with a study of symbolism in the 17th Century.


Last painting in A-Z Blogging Challenge 2016 Vermeer

Although my visitor numbers have reached an all time low in these Vermeer series and dropped by some 80%, taking part of the challenge is a very nice experience, and it gave me an opportunity to explore the work and life of Johannes Vermeer. To those of you, who read all or some of it, thank you for your time and I hope you’ve learned a little bit more about Johannes Vermeer, Han van Meegeren’s most appreciated artist.



14 thoughts on “Z = Zittende virginaalspeelster

  1. Thank you, girl with the naughty name and congratulations with finishing yours as well.

    Nah, it's not the numbers that count, I was only surprised that the reverse happened as to what I had expected. The research took me about 2 hours a letter, so it was quite some project, but wonderful to learn myself.

    Thank you for your kind words,


  2. Thank you, Julie, very nice of you to say so.
    I'm glad you have had nice experiences in the A-Z challenge, that what it's there for.

    Thank you for your kind words again,


  3. I'm very pleased you liked it Rebel. And the visitor numbers are not important, but in taking part of the challenge it was just the opposite of what I expected to happen! I expected that the visitors of all these blogs would come back, and it was strange to see the opposite happening,

    That said, it doesn't matter.


  4. Surprisingly it wasn't all that hard when I decided I would name all the painting with their Dutch names. The combination between Dutch and English letters made it fun to make.

    I'm waiting for my operation date now. The drain in my gall bladder is still in, and I will be glad to get rid of it..

    Thank you for your kind words,


  5. Congrats on completing the A to Z Challenge, Han! Visitor numbers aren't important when you are sharing and researching art that you love. I have enjoyed following along and learning from you, as always. =)


  6. Congrats, Han , you did it!
    And what a A-Z it was!!!
    What a wonderful work you did!!
    I enjoyed every one post. Learned a LOT.
    Well done!

    Mona Lisa


  7. Well done in reaching the end. I too enjoyed the challenge, my visitor numbers haven't gone down. I had an interesting visit from a video gamer, we agreed both of our blogs, while interesting are not for each other! Great to learn new things, as I have visiting yours.


  8. I have enjoyed these series! Congratulations on completing the challenge and with such an interesting subject.
    Like you, I noticed that my visitor numbers have dropped. I think people just feel overwhelmed when they receive an email every day…

    Oh well, we can make up for that in May.

    Rebel xox


  9. Congratulations on making it all the way through, Han. I'm with Jz…was sure how you were going to pull it off. Thank you for all the hard work to pull all this information together. Learned so much. Hope you are feeling better.

    Hugs and blessings…Cat


  10. Nice job, Han!
    I wasn't sure how you were going to pull this off… it's a rich subject, of course, but to pull all those letters from it…
    But you did it! (and well.)


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