The Impeccable Puzzle of Vermeer’s Milkmaid

A brilliant painting infused with suggestive hints

Christopher P Jones
6 min readAug 17, 2023

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The Milkmaid (c.1660) by Johannes Vermeer. Oil on canvas. 45.5 × 41 cm. Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam, Netherlands. Image source Wikimedia Commons

It looks like a simple scene. A woman stands pouring milk from a clay jug. Before her on a small table is a loaf of bread in a wicker basket, along with several other tufts of old loaf. She may be preparing bread pudding, soaking the ingredients before baking.

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