In terms of its rendering and physical form, the style of this painting most resembles the works of Caravaggio. There’s a strong sense of light and shadow also referred to as chiaroscuro. It is a close up portrait and it is extremely realistic. It is most likely painted in something called ala prima, which basically means without it underdrawing and painted directly wet into wet. Where this work differs the most Caravaggio is in the painters use of colors that are referred to as nonlocal colors. In Caravaggio’s painting is a palette of colors that we would call earth toned, which are all there is hues of browns. If you compare the flesh color of Vermeer’s painting to Caravaggio’s you can see that Vermeer includes colors such as green and some purples in the flesh tones whereas Caravaggio paints everything as shades of browns or oranges. Caravaggio’s palette is restrained and only uses the hues that are in the brown family, but Vermeer has all of the hues (colors) such as blue, green, yellow and purple.
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