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The following interpretations range from finely reasoned contextual studies of the life and times of Vermeer by Mariët Westermann, to the ultimately subjective, but nonetheless indispensable, interpretations of Lawrence Gowing and Edward Snow.

Too, what now seems a remote "art-for art's-sake" view of Vermeer's models as nothing more than illuminated surfaces, are also included and perhaps should not be dismissed so easily by the information provided by the lasted 20 years of intense iconographic studies.

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The entries are arranged in reversed chronological order.Mariët Westermann "Vermeer and the Self Aware Interior", in - he gives us no dues as to its denouement.Modern scholarship generally holds that they were not painted as portraits except, perhaps, .Vermeer's women were protagonists of a type of painting now called genre interior which was pioneered in the Netherlands during the first half of the seventeenth century by artists like Dirck Hals (1591–1656) and William Duyster (1599–1635).He did not substantially subvert or even significantly widen established iconographical boundaries but rather seemed completely absorbed in realizing their fullest expressive potential.

In this light, it seems doubtful that Vermeer addressed such an unconventional theme such as that of a pregnant women.It is surely no accident that the vanishing point in the , New York, 2001, pp. Rather than feeling the need to rebel against women in his house, Vermeer seems rather to have been absorbed in them.The feminine enveloped him and he was a willing and happy victim.They reflect concepts that were important to the Dutch culture such as family, privacy, intimacy, comfort and luxury, encouraging the spectator to think about issues relevant to his or her daily life, sometimes with touches of humor.Both from an anthropological and viewpoint as well as an architectural and decorative one, they acquired and enormous importance in Holland in the second half of the seventeenth century: the physical space of the of the upper middle classes expanded as the consequence of their growing wealth, dividing itself up into more spaces and offering to its inhabitants greater comfort and more private areas.It is not by chance that among the innovations of interior paintings we find a sensibility towards the intimate psychology of individuals, given that the concept of an interior life was developing at just this time.