Johannes Vermeer Paints The Milkmaid

The effect of three-dimensionality is particularly evident in the modeling of the woman's head and body.

Small touches of paint - white, light ocher, reddish brown, brown, greenish gray - join together to build the form of her face. Brushstrokes are boldly juxtaposed, with little or no effort to blend the various colors together. The buildup of paint is so pronounced that it seems as if Vermeer was attempting to sculpt rather than paint the head.

The Milkmaid (De Melkmeid), sometimes called The Kitchen Maid, is a painting of a milkmaid by the Dutch artist Johannes Vermeer, and is housed in the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam.

It was painted in 1658, using oil on canvas.

Het Melkmeisje is currently its most used name (in Dutch). Although less accurate in modern Dutch the word "meid" (maid) has gained a negative tone, not present in its diminutive: "meisje", hence the use of the more friendly title for the work, used by the Rijksmuseum and others.