Magazine article Arts & Activities

Artists Paint ... Women

Magazine article Arts & Activities

Artists Paint ... Women

Article excerpt

Some artists hire a woman to pose for them while they t her picture and hope to sell the finished painting. Other artists are commissioned by the woman, her family or a suitor to have a painting made of her.

Looking at this artwork, we can't help but wish that the artist in this picture--who faces his easel as he paints--would turn around so we could see his face. It is believed by many that we are seeing a self-portrait of the 17th-century artist, Jan (Johannes) Vermeer (Dutch; 1632-1675).

Vermeer would often use his wife as a model. Here, sunlight filters in from the left, touching the woman's blue gown, the brass chandelier above and the map of The Netherlands on the wall. The woman is wearing a laurel wreath and holds a large book and a trumpet. She represents the Muse of History, Clio.

Vermeer is famous for his quiet masterpieces--pictures of people inside their homes. He had money problems as he supported his wife and 11 children.

He died suddenly from either a stroke or heart attack, brought on by debt-related stress. It was not for another 200 years that his paintings were acclaimed as among the finest ever created. Vermeer worked in a slow, painstaking way and only 38 paintings have been attributed to him.

Artists Paint ... Women grade 2

National Art Standards

Understand and apply media, techniques and processes

Students reflect upon and assess the characteristics and merits of their work and the work of others


* Props for models to hold, such as an umbrella, flowers, a basket, hatscarf, beads, etc.

* 9" x 12" or 12" x 18" white paper

* Pencils

* Permanent black markers

Choose between:

* Oil pastels

* Tempera and brushes

* Crayons, warming tray and mitt


Artists often hire models to pose for them. Artists are often commissioned (hired) to paint portraits. …

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