The Intellectual Procuress

Celestina’s Legacy and the Rhetoric of Seduction




Jan Vermeer, Lady Seated at a Virginal, procuress, Celestina, Flemish Painting


Johannes Vermeer's painting, "Lady Seated at a Virginal," invites viewers into an intimate moment frozen in time, where a young woman engages with a musical instrument. However, hidden within the scene lies a profound commentary on societal perceptions of femininity and desire. This paper explores the symbolism within Vermeer's work, particularly the inclusion of another painting within the scene, "The Procuress" by Dirck van Baburen. Through a historical and literary lens, it delves into the evolving portrayal of the procuress archetype, from its origins in Spanish literature to its manifestation in Dutch art. Drawing parallels to the character of Celestina from Fernando de Rojas' "La Celestina," the paper examines how women's agency and linguistic power have been historically feared and suppressed. Ultimately, it argues that Vermeer's painting serves as both a celebration of artistic awareness and a cautionary tale about the manipulation of desire through art and rhetoric.




How to Cite

Ramirez, A. and Gislon Dopfel, C. (2021) “The Intellectual Procuress: Celestina’s Legacy and the Rhetoric of Seduction”, Avisos de Viena. Vienna, Austria, 2, pp. 81–89. doi: 10.25365/adv.2021.2.6188.