"“Allegory of Faith”, Jan Vermeer – description of the painting
Description of the picture:
Allegory of faith – Jan Vermeer of Delft. Canvas, oil. 114.3×88.9
The painting, which differs from other works of the artist in especially large sizes, contains an unambiguous symbolic message within itself. Located in the foreground, a richly embroidered curtain, similar to a trellis, introduces the viewer into the scene, reflecting the embodiment of Faith. It is surrounded by symbolic attributes gleaned in Cesare Ripa’s famous book “Iconology”, translated in the middle of the XVII century. into Dutch. Snow-white and blue colors are a clear embodiment of purity and truth. A hand pressed to the chest shows to the depth of faith emanating from the heart itself. A reproduction of the painting “The Crucifixion” by the Antwerp painter Jacob Jordaens is placed on the wall, which further emphasizes the significance of the scene.
It is curious that the painting depicted on the canvas was the property of Vermeer and was mentioned in the inventory of the artist’s property, drawn up after his death. The restraint of the composition and a more serious spectrum appear in the artist’s later works. They are accompanied by a noticeable impact of traditional concepts that were evenly distributed in the Dutch art of that era. It cannot be ruled out that the painting was commissioned.
Crucifix, Cup and Bible, placed on a table next to a woman, emphasize the fundamental role in the church religion of the sacraments of the Eucharist and the sacrifice of Christ. The counter-reform, especially in an open debate with the doctrine of Protestantism regarding the symbolic value imputed to bread and wine, recognized Communion a special role.
An apple lying at the feet of Vera, according to Christian tradition, it represents a forbidden fruit from the Garden of Eden, plucked by Eve, who tasted the taste of a serpent, and therefore became the emblem of the fall of man and mortal sin. In reality, the Holy Scriptures do not say what species the tree of knowledge belonged to. But the Latin word malum means both male (“evil”) and malus (“apple tree”), it follows that the tree should be an apple tree."