The Most Fashionable Room in Amsterdam

The most fashionable room in Amsterdam is too small to fit all its visitors. Crowds gather at the doorstep, peering through the half-drawn curtains at the checkerboard tiles, the red-and-gold wallpaper (or is it a tapestry?), the painting of a sailboat and billowing clouds. The room is never ready to receive them. There are papers thrown across a chair, a basket of laundry on the floor, a pair of slippers and a broom blocking the doorway. The hostess is oblivious to the presence of her guests. She’s always either looking up from her love letter — unaware that everyone else knows that that is in fact what she’s holding — or about to look down at it, staring anxiously and unseeingly into the middle distance.

Johannes Vermeer, The Love Letter, c. 1666
Pieter de Hooch, Interior with a Mother Delousing Her Child’s Hair
Woman Reading a Letter (Vermeer).
The Milkmaid (Vermeer).

Visual artist following curiosity wherever it leads. I have a Harvard PhD in philosophy. Learn colorful painting with me: