Milkmaid Symbolism

1615 Words7 Pages
I am a very literal person and there are very few things that I can find a deeper meaning. Literature is the only thing that I can easily find symbolism in. It is easier for me to picture things and their meaning when it is put into words. I have never been able to understand art when it comes to paintings and sculptures. When I look at a work of art, I do not see anything beyond what is painted. For instance, you may see a virtuous woman that represents purity, temperance, and hard word in The Milkmaid; a painting by Jan Vermeer, however all I can see is just a woman in an odd hat pouring milk. To me, it doesn’t have any sort of significant meaning. I am like this with every piece of art. My friends will actually get emotional at a painting…show more content…
First there is the striking contrast of colors, black versus white. This itself symbolizes the very essences of life versus death, with white being life and black being death. The contrast between black and white, creates a higher level of sharpness. The angel is dressed in all black which shows that she is there as death and is bold and dominant, without the need for aggression and the old man is also wearing a black top. The importance of the man wearing a black top is that it shows that he has died and his life and soul are no longer there. In the background are tombstones, which are subdued by some of the tree branches following the shape of the wings, whereas others are more vertical. This prevents the tombstones from being too dominant in the composition and ensures that the focus is purely on the two figures and their relationship and connection because the story of the painting is within their connection. The two are surrounded by a white blanket of snow, that seems to be melting away because of the sprouting flowers in the front of the image and the leaves that are on the weeping willow. The man has symbolically reached the winter of his life where everything dies, but the flowers and leaves on the willow represent the formation of new life. Showing that the old man is about to die with the coming of spring could represent the beginning of a new life after death for the man. Finally, the sun is setting in the background, which could also be a symbol of life. The sun was often used during the Symbolism era as a symbol for life. With the sun setting, it means that his life is coming to an

More about Milkmaid Symbolism

Open Document