With an approach completely different from that of his contemporaries, Jacobus Vrel captured the feeling of everyday life on a town street where tall buildings with shops and markets crowd out the sky and people have time to chat amidst the bricks and cobblestones.
Never trained in the popular manner, Vrel did not use perspective and he never primed his canvases. His figures do not cast shadows. Yet his primitive, independent style imparts a naive intimacy and truth to the moments he chose for his panels. His humble approach, imbued with sincerity and compassion for the average person, shows sensitivity toward the quiet moments that make up the bulk of most people's lives.
This picture was once owned by Théophile Thoré-Bürger, who rediscovered Johannes Vermeer in the 1800s and believed that this panel was by Vermeer himself.