|The Love Letter by Jan Vermeer|
We have already posted several paintings by Jan Vermeer (1632-1675), showing women reading or writing letters. This one follows the same line, showing us an intimate scene where one woman is being handed a love letter by her servant. We know it's a love letter because she is carrying a lute (more specifically, a cittern, a member of the lute/guitar family), which according to Wikipedia, was a symbol of love - often carnal love; luit was also a slang term for vagina. This idea is further reinforced by the slippers at the very bottom of the picture. The removed slipper was another symbol of sex. The floor brush would appear to represent domesticity, and its placement at the side of the painting may suggest that domestic concerns have been forgotten or pushed aside.
The two paintings on the wall are also significant. The lower painting is of a stormy sea, a clear metaphor for tempestuous love. Above it is a landscape painting of a traveler on a sandy road. This may refer to the absence of the man who is writing to the lady.