Allegory of faith - Jan Vermeer of Delft. 114.3x88.9
The painting, which differs from other works of the artist by its unusually large size, contains an unambiguous symbolic message. Located in the foreground, a richly embroidered curtain, similar to a trellis, introduces the viewer into the scene, reflecting the embodiment of Faith. It is surrounded by symbolic attributes gleaned in the famous book of Cesare Ripa "Iconology", translated in the middle of the XVII century. into Dutch. White and blue colors are an obvious embodiment of purity and truth. A hand pressed to the chest indicates the depth of faith that comes from the heart itself. A reproduction of the painting of the Antwerp painter Jacob Jordaens “Crucifixion” is placed on the wall, which even more convincingly emphasizes the significance of the scene.
Interestingly, the painting depicted on the canvas was the property of Vermeer and was mentioned in the inventory of the artist’s property, drawn up after his death. The restraint of the composition and a more rigorous coloring are manifested in the artist's later works. They are accompanied by a noticeable influence of classical concepts, which gradually spread in Dutch art of that era. It cannot be ruled out that the painting was commissioned.
Crucifix, Cup and Bibleplaced on the table next to the girl, emphasize the fundamental role in the Catholic religion of the sacrament of the Eucharist and the sacrifice of Christ. The counter-reform, especially in an open debate with the doctrine of Protestantism regarding the symbolic value imputed to bread and wine, recognized Communion a special role.
An apple lying at the feet of Vera, according to Christian tradition, represents the forbidden fruit from the Garden of Eden, plucked by Eve, tempted by the serpent, and therefore became a symbol of the fall of man and mortal sin. In fact, the Holy Scripture does not say what species the tree of knowledge belonged to. But the Latin word malum means both male ("evil") and malus ("apple tree"), it follows that the tree should be an apple tree.