Soldier and a Laughing Girl - Jan Vermeer

Click on the image above to see a larger version
This work generally believed to be painted the year after the girl reading a letter at an open window could not be more different in treatment of the subject. Vermeer far from painting a quiet subdued picture has breathed an exuberance into this painting from the light spilling on the girls black and yellow jacket to the highlights on the red of the soldiers coat. A map is displayed prominently on the wall behind the couple, generally the map is shown to be symbol of wealth but perhaps in this case it hints at the soldiers travels. The girl could be listening to him telling a tale of foreign lands so intently is she leaning forward so to hear him the better. Vermeer at this time is drawing on the influence of Pieter de Hooch who was also painting at this time. Indeed this work is reminiscent of a painting called Soldiers playing Cards