The Visionary Art of Elizabeth Paxson
Cheated Girl in a Red Hat
2017
Plaster Infused Paper Mache
18" tall
Johannes Vermeer's “Girl With a Red Hat” has been touted, rightly so, as one of his greatest works. Although most experts agree that is was painted by Vermeer, a few have speculated that it may actually have been painted by his daughter, Maria. Maria served, after her mother, as Vermeer's model starting at age twelve. She was also his apprentice, learning the painter's trade while grinding pigments and resins, preparing canvases and learning technique from her father.

There are several unique aspects to “Girl With a Red Hat.” First, it was one of only two paintings by Vermeer painted on a wooden panel. Second, it is tiny, only about seven inches tall. The pose is striking and unusual for the period in that the girl looks directly at the viewer, as if admiring herself in a mirror, exactly as one would if painting a self-portrait. Shortly before her father's death, in 1674, Maria married and never painted again. Perhaps her in-laws thought it an unseemly activity for their son's wife.

While the idea that it was painted by Maria is speculation, I wanted to give a nod to all the women artists who have been cheated of credit for their work. If it was by some chance her work, she should be recognized. “Cheated Girl in a Red Hat” is a testimonial to all the women who didn't get the credit they deserved.
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