This oil painting by André Romijn presents a serene portrayal of a woman deeply engrossed in literature. The artist has masterfully depicted the tranquillity and mental engagement of the subject, who is seated in what appears to be a lush garden, suggesting a peaceful retreat from the hustle and bustle of daily life.

A moment of serenity by artist André Romijn

Mental well-being

The choice of a natural setting aligns with the research by Roe et al., emphasizing the significance of green spaces for mental well-being. Romijn seems to have translated this concept into visual form, with the garden serving not just as a backdrop but as an integral part of the experience of reading and the calming effect it has on the individual.

The subject’s relaxed posture, with one hand gently touching her braid, the soft, focused expression on her face as she reads, evoke a sense of contentment and reflect the restorative power of both literature and nature. The warm and earthy tones of the background contrast with the cool blues of her dress, further emphasizing the figure and her state of peaceful focus.

Romijn’s technique, with its visible brushstrokes and thoughtful use of light and shadow, adds to the painting’s intimate atmosphere. It’s a snapshot of a private moment where the outside world seems to fall away, leaving only the woman and her book.

This oil painting by André Romijn presents a serene portrayal of a woman deeply engrossed in literature.  Kunsthuis Andre Middelburg

Finding a personal sanctuary

The painting could be seen as a reminder of the importance of taking time for oneself and finding a personal sanctuary, reinforcing the idea that moments of solitude in nature can be a powerful antidote to the stress of urban living.

While nature serves as a sanctuary for many, its absence can profoundly impact mental well-being, especially among women whose stress is notably heightened by limited green exposure.*

*Source: Roe, Jenny J., Catharine W. Thompson, Peter A. Aspinall, Mark J. Brewer, Elizabeth I. Duff, David Miller, Richard Mitchell, and Angela Clow. (2013). ‘Green Space and Stress: Evidence from Cortisol Measures in deprived Urban Communities’ International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health 10, no. 9: 4086-4103.


  • Size (h w d): 42 x 35 x 1 cm
  • Framed Size (h w d): 57 x 50 x 5 cm

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