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"Young Girl with Noose"

Jan Vermineer

Vermineer, as his name connotes, was of a noted family of ratcatchers in Delft, Holland during the 17th century. As the eldest son he was expected to lead the family business after his father was carried away by murine typhus, betrayed by an unfortunate lapse of attention during the opening of a live trap. The young Vermineer was crushed, as he had his heart set on introducing the new Italian al fresco painting style known as "graffiti" to the public buildings of downtown Delft.

What with the daily responsibilities of business his artwork suffered and his mood plunged darkly. Forbidden by his strict mother from bringing models into the Vermineer household, he had to be content with boring a hole through the wall of the adjoining house and spying on the young women there. His mother Lakjeer was also the one who forced him to modify early versions of these paintings by putting clothes on the figures.

Saddened by what he saw as desecration, Vermineer fell into his Depressionist phase, where his young, now fully-clothed maidens are caught in the act of offing themselves through a variety of methods. "Young Girl with a Noose" is the first of this series, which also includes "Young Girl with a Suicide Note," "Young Girl with a Jug Probably Filled with Strychnine," and the lost masterpiece "Young Girl with a Handgun," also known as "Tapestry with Wide Red Splash."

Vermineer's last work, "Young Man with a Paintbrush Jammed into His Brain," is believed to be a self-portrait. After his tragic suicide the Vermineer family never recovered its standing among the ratcatchers of Delft, and the introduction of the Patent Reloadable Spring-Fired Trap wiped out its fortunes altogether.

Viewers are cautioned not to approach the painting too closely, as there have been several reports of bubonic associated with it, as with all Vermineer masterpieces.

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