Straatje van Vermeer

Het Straatje van Vermeer, by Johannes Vermeer, c. 1656. Het Straatje van Vermeer, by Johannes Vermeer, c. 1656. Courtesy Rijksmuseum Amsterdam acc. no. SK-A-2860.

The Straatje van Vermeer ('Little Street of Vermeer') is a painting (54.3 x 44 cm) by the Dutch seventeenth century master, Johannes Vermeer (1632-1675). He created the painting around 1658. It shows two houses in the town of Delft, with two alleyways in between, some children playing in front of the house to the left, and a woman in the doorway carrying out what at first glance seems to be her sewing.

The houses themselves have long gone, but recently their location in Delft was identified: Vlamingstraat 40-42. The alleyway to the right in Vermeer's painting is still there.

The seated woman in the doorway is often described as being busy with some form of sewing or needlework, but in fact it may well be that she is making bobbin lace: she has a lace pillow on her lap, covered by a white cloth, and there even seem to be some bobbins visible. She is holding her hands above the white cloth in such a way that would rather contradict her carrying out simple sewing or embroidering, but would suggest bobbin lace making. See also another of Vermeer's paintings (The Lacemaker), which also shows a woman making bobbin lace.

The woman in the doorway may be the owner or occupant of the house in Vermeer's time: she was the widow Ariaentgen Claes van der Minne, and an aunt of the painter. She was known to make a living by selling tripe; the alleyway to the left of her house was hence, deep into the nineteenth century, known as the Penspoortje ('little tripe gate').

Rijksmuseum Amsterdam online catalogue (retrieved 13 October 2016).


straatje-vermeer-ontdekt-1050x630The Straatje van Vermeer in Vermeer's painting (to the left) and at present (to the right).

Last modified on Friday, 14 October 2016 16:45