The Milkmaid is perhaps the most admired painting by Johannes Vermeer (1632-1675). It may be considered one of the last works of the artist's early, formative years, during which he adopted various subjects and styles from other painters and at the same time introduced effects based on direct observation and an unusually refined artistic sensibility.
Influenced by the detailed realism of Gerrit Dou and his followers in Leiden, Vermeer created his most illusionistic image in this work. To modern viewers the picture may resemble a photograph. However, the composition is exquisitely designed, as is evident from several revisions made in the course of execution and from subtle relationships of light and shadow, colour, contours, and shapes. A low vantage point and a pyramidal buildup of forms from the left foreground to the woman's head lend the figure monumentality and perhaps a sense of dignity.
the above text appears on the back of the card HC-778: card size 7" x 5" (178mm x 127mm)