The painting is currently housed in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City and dates back to 1657.
The dark painting showcases a young woman seated against a table as she leans her head against the palm of her hand and sleeps. Vermeer favoured the position of woman leaning against their hands as showcased within the painting Christ in the House of Martha and Mary.
The woman asleep gently leans against her hand as her head tilts towards the table with her eyes closed. The woman is dressed in a burgundy red dress paired with a lush red collar that covers her neck.
She is seated at a wooden table covered in a red tablecloth in an oriental pattern. The beautiful mosaic piece spans the surface of the table curved around the edges of the table.
The bottom section of the tablecloth is covered in beige colour, paired with tassels that flow out of either ends of the tablecloth. The woman's pale skin is gently illuminated in the room as her hairline creates a sharp curve, adding a curvy shape to her face. At the table in which the woman is seated are an array of products and goods.
A tall white jug of milk is placed with a silver top, alongside a bowl of fruit and a loaf of bread. Vermeer was known for showcasing the natural elements held in households throughout his work. Vermeer places a bowl of fruit within the painting Girl Reading a Letter at an Open Window, accessorizing the area around his painting.
The Vermeer is well known for revealing natural scenery of everyday life during the 17th century throughout his artwork. The scene exposes a woman sleeping against a table, gently resting against her arm. The artist had strategically placed the source of light to reflect against the woman to illuminate her presence.
The walls are covered in a light white colour, paired with a deep brown colour around the frame of the door. The environment of the painting reveals a luxurious area, as many refer to the woman within the painting as sleeping.
Throughout the Dutch Golden Age, and array of symbolism is present within artists work as showcased within the painting. The Chinese fruit bowl is meant to symbolise temptation as evident through the luxurious lifestyle that seizes many. The knife illustrated on the table would also carry a much larger meaning behind the placement, for example the social attributes of the era.
The style of the painting followed the realist method the dominated Europe for centuries. Vermeer showcased these classic characteristics throughout the artwork by displaying the soft characteristics of the woman. The light detail is displayed which it softly blends through Vermeer's soft brush stroke.
Vermeer is best known for his portraits of girls and woman as he was captivated by their natural form and beauty throughout his life. These pieces were often not erotic but instead gently manifested the female character during the 17th century. The exquisite attention to detail had regained Vermeer popularity within the future as a rediscovered artist.