Symbolism in ‘The Art of Painting’

Symbolism in “The Art of Painting” according to some experts:

– The subject in the Muse of History, Clio: Evidenced by the facts that she is wearing a laurel wreath, holding a trumpet (depicting fame) and carrying a book (this book may be a book by Thucydides)

The double headed eagle: It is the symbol of the Austrian Habsburg dynasty and former rulers of Holland, and it adorns the central golden chandelier. It may represent the Catholic faith, as Vermeer was a Catholic in a Protestant Holland. Moreover, the absense of candels on the chandelier may also represent the supression of the Catholic faith.

The map at the back : It has a rip and it divides the Netherlands between the north and the south. This rip symbolizes the division between the Dutch Republic to the north and the Habsburg controlled provinces to the south. As said in the previous post, the map was made by Claes Jansz Visscher and it shows the earlier political division between the Union of Utretch to the north, and the colonies to the south.

The mask: There is a mask on the table next to the artist, and it is thought to be a death mask, representing the ineffectiveness of the Habsburg monarch.

Cite the site: The Art of Painting. (2009, May 28). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 09:09, May 29, 2009, from