The folds of this jacket are handled so differently from picture to picture that it appears to be made of various kinds of fabric, although a side-by-side comparison of the shapes and the distribution of the spots on the fur trim of three paintings () assures us that it is one and the same article.
The fact that the painter would have so willfully distorted the garment's folds but so carefully attended to the positions and shapes of the spots, which perhaps even Vermeer's wife would never have noticed, is somewhat perplexing. Gabriel Metsu (1629–1667) painted them many times, sometimes green or blue, occasionally yellow, but most often red.
Historians of costume tell us that the spotted fur trim of Vermeer's jacks was probably not precious ermine but cat, squirrel or mouse decorated with faux spots.
In fact, even in the inventories of the wealthiest women, ermine is never mentioned.
The fact that some of his work was signed "painted by myself" ( may indicate that like other artists he differentiated between his own work and that produced by his studio, a difference that would have been reflected in the price By definition, a journeyman was an artist who may have been employed by a mastercraftsman but could charge a fee for each day's work.
A journeyman could not employ others but could live apart from the master, unlike an apprentice who usually lived with the master and was employed for a period of several years.
, (obsolete Dutch: perceptibility) is a term used to describe pictorial space as perceived in relation to the surface qualities of a painting.
When the master-painter and guild were satisfied with an apprentice's progress, usually after two to four years, he became a journeyman.