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The appeal for the painter of reading and writing women might also relate to his marriage.Catharina Bolnes carne from a higher social class than he did, and she signed documents in an elegant hand. Many have thought the work unfinished because of the plain dark background, and therefore that it might be one of the two paintings accepted by the baker, Van Buijten, from Vermeer's widow to pay the which Vermeer could be said to have essayed the dramatic subtlety characteristic of Ter Borch's pieces and on a grand scale.In its precise rendering of both expression and gesture it challenges comparison even with Rembrandt.An interest in calligraphy may be discerned by comparing her fine penmanship with the "unadorned, workaday signature" of her highborn mother.
A subtle abstraction of forms and color becomes evident.
Recent studies of seventeenth-century attitudes towards young women in domestic service have produced a variety of interpretations as to their role and status: Simon Schama has suggested that maids were 'indisputably regarded as the most dangerous women of all, for they represented the presence of the footloose inside the home.
Unmarried but nubile, entrusted with the essential domestic work (but notoriously untrustworthy), they were thought of as a kind of surreptitious fifth column for worldliness, stationed in the heart of the conjugal home'.
Typically in Dutch art, maids were represented in genre painting, a context that stresses their subservient role within the hierarchy of a bourgeois household.
In emblematic and popular literature of the day, they are often cast as a threat to the honour and security of the home, the centre of Dutch life and the focus of so much Dutch art.
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In the , he explored a different set of dynamics: a focus on implied movement.