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Vermeer’s Woman in Blue Reading a Letter is coming to the Getty on February 16 for the concluding leg of her world tour.

Museum writer Anne Martens is asking what you think the opening line of this letter could be. She’ll pick a juicy one and do her best to make you proud by penning the rest.

Woman in Blue Reading a Letter (detail), about 1663–64, Johannes Vermeer. Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam. On loan from the City of Amsterdam (A. van der Hoop Bequest)

“The ‘correct and striking representation’ of scenes from ‘ordinary life’, rendered with precision, tact and minute detail; this is indeed the essence of Austen’s art, as it is of Dutch realism in painting. Vermeer creates the sense of a real world by means of an opened letter, a pearl earring, a latticed window, a jug and a tablecloth, a musical instrument. By the same account, objects play a key part in bringing alive Austen’s fictional worlds.” p, 9 in Paula Byrne’s The Real Jane Austen: A Life in Small Things.

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