VERMEER, Johannes
(b. 1632, Delft, d. 1675, Delft)

The Allegory of Catholic Faith (detail)

Oil on canvas
Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

Northern allegories of the Catholic faith were limited to a rather specific iconography. The woman here is a personification of Faith; the crushed snake in the foreground represents the triumph over sin. The colours worn by Faith, white and blue, may represent the virtues of purity and truth. Despite the subject matter, Vermeer remains concerned with the depiction of objects, space, and light. The simplification and hardening of the light in this painting are characteristic of the artist's late style.

The Globe in the picture is by Hondius, 1618.