Young Woman at an Open Half Door
A 1645 Rembrant Oil on Canvas, called ‘Young Women at an Open Half Door. What strikes me the most about this painting is where the young woman is looking. It looks like she is waiting for someone or she is looking out in fear she will be caught by someone. The way her hands are placed on the top of the half door, her left hand is turned in almost like a hesitation, while her right is flat on top ready to push the door open. I wonder is she standing on the inside of the door or the out side of the door. The size of the painting itself is of good size, it is about human scale. The only known texture is the canvas itself, the painting is very smooth. The canvas itself is about the size human scale as well. The artist probably didn’t need a ladder to paint this scene. You can also see how light reflects on the image. You see the weave of the canvas, but the paint is one layer, two dimensional; it lacks texture and depth. In her corset lace this is the only place in the painting where you see the direction of brush strokes.
When I am looking at this painting, I am left feeling wonder and confusion. What is she looking at? Is she being flirtations with someone in the distance? Is she looking out for herself? Her facial expressions are very soft, the right corner of her mouth is tight, her chin is a pinch to her left shoulder like she is looking away but still wants to see what is to her right. She is uncertain, half in and half out of the door way. There is no setting in this painting. Except that she is being frames with the door way, which is also being framed by the frame itself. Her clothes are very neutral and dark in color, almost looks like she may be of working class status, however the only sighting of color is the red beaded necklace around her neck. Makes me wonder is she being flirtations with a man? Was this a gift to her? Or is this her only piece of jewelry? Her right sleeve is pushed up just a little bit like she was cleaning or cooking which leads me to believe she is a working girl. The artist framed her within the door way and I feel the way her arms are placed is framing her as well. The corners of the door frame are both leading to the top of her head.
My experience of this artwork is telling me that she is a woman of lower or working class. She may have something of value (the read necklace) or it was a gift given to her. Maybe she was being flirtations and was given this as a gift and she is showing it off. Looking off to the side at the man who gave her this red necklace. Or to show everyone else “hey I have this beautiful necklace by a wonderful man and I’m showing it off”.
I feel the intention of this artist was to capture the viewer with wonder and question. After looking at it as a whole, then taking it apart into pieces, then as a whole again I am still left in wonder, wondering what is her expression? What is she looking at? The red necklace, the only piece of color, is it a symbol or lust? Is she a working class girl with a rich lover on the side? This is a beautiful painting, that anyone could look at and make up any kind of story to fit the feel of the artist.