After having watched the documentary on Vermeer’s paintings and the film The Girl with a Pearl Earring, I have noticed that many of this author’s paintings are set in almost the same enclosures: a room that in some cases has a painting in the rear wall and that in all the cases has a window on the left. Something remarkable of the painting I have chosen – The Girl with a Wine Glass – is the stained-glass window since it appears also in another painting, The Glass of Wine. The female figure is holding a level and a bridle and it is supposed to personify Temperantia, or Temperance if you want to call it another way. The level symbolizes good deeds and the bridle symbolizes emotional control. Thus, it is very probable that, together with the staid portrait on the rear wall, it provided some sort of admonitory comments to the protagonists’ lack of self restraint.
Another thing to point out in this painting is the male figure at the bottom of the room. It is one of the very few openly negative figures in the artist’s work. The young man’s degected posture and shadowy treatment have lead critics to believe that may either be a victim of love or simply drunk. This mood and pose are reminiscent of those of the girl in another Vermeer’s paintings – A Maid Asleep.
** Some extracts of this article have been taken from the following webpage: http://www.essentialvermeer.com/catalogue/girl_with_a_wine_glass.html#