Some examples of Vermeer’s influence

During the whole course, we have all realized that there are many art compositions that are based in Vermeer’s paintings.  Here, I have tried to collect some of the most important ones that are based in the painting that I have been working on during these months “Woman in blue reading a letter”.  This would be the two poems and the novel and then I will include some photographs based on another painting of Vermeer that has many similarities with “Woman in blue reading a letter”, which is “Woman reading at the window”.

This first poem was created by Bob Chapel and it is clearly based on Vermeer’s masterpiece:

Vermeer’s Woman in Blue Reading a Letter





Here with his books, his maps, his empty chair-
I know never a waking hour
without longing,
nor slumber
without missing his touch.

Does he ache for me as I for him?
He has winds and tides and hostile aborigines
to occupy his mind, but I-
an empty chair, and maps, and books,
and this swollen belly he knows not of.

Books, maps, chair,
this letter-passed from ship
to ship in southern seas-
and the burgeoning fruit of his seed
are all I have of him.

The letter speaks of hopes
for riches beyond measure,
and of loneliness, too,
but sparingly. Do we not have
wealth enough? And loneliness
in abundance?

Longing for his return,
I wait among his books and maps
and gaze upon that empty chair,
caress his letter, and
thrill to the impatient movement
within my womb.

Will our firstborn shy from him?
Or he from this unforeseen stranger
in his house?

Does he think of me now,
as he fills the belly
of his ship with spice?
Or are his thoughts confined
to wind and tide and current-
or some dark, exotic maiden?


The following poem is called “Woman in blue” and it was composed by Joan Siegel about “Woman in blue reading a letter”.


Woman in Blue

She travels toward him

only so far as her hands

have traveled the map


so far as her hands

have traveled the contours

of his body.


His voice fills the room

as though he were seated

in one of the empty carved chairs.


Brightness rises like moonlight

over her blue smock, the belly

that houses the child in its own


world, like the mother’s, distant

from the world of the father

as the evening star.


The Mother of Joan of Arc


She walks one hundred miles

to kneel at the statue of Mary.


In Le Puy’s cold cathedral,

she prays for her daughter,

one mother to another.


Her prayer

is the mother’s longing–

as it was at the birth

that first ripped her open–

to hold

what her body made


not see the flesh

of her flesh


like paper.


The following work is a book called “Girl in Hyacinth blue” written by Susan Vreeland. 

For readers interested in art and history, Girl in Hyacinth Blue is a must read. Author Susan Vreeland traces ownership of a Vermeer painting from the present through each owner in reverse chronology to its seventeenth century Dutch artist. The painting has a complex history, told chapter by chapter in stories of each owner and describes the profound effect the painting had on each one. These stories depict ordinary details with clarity of a Vermeer work of art. Each chapter could stand on its own, like a little gift to the reader. Vreeland is an extremely skilled historical fiction writer, but this book challenges us to think about the function and purpose of art.”

And finally, these are two pictures taken by the famous photographer Tom Hunter and Jonathan Janson. Though them, they try to imitate in a photography Vermeer’s “Woman in blue reading a letter”, each of one in a different way.

“Woman Reading a Repossession Order”


“New Vermeers”