What is the purpose of art for all of the characters?
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Creativity is freedom of expression.
Creativity is a theme in the novel in that it is a large part of the bond that draws Griet and Vermeer together. Even at the beginning of the novel, when Griet is uneducated and has had little exposure to art, she has an instinctive sensitivity to colors and design. As she spends more time with Vermeer, he is impressed by her ability to notice subtle details about the composition of his paintings, and make suggestions about how to improve them. By showing Griet's creative and artistic spirit, the novel suggests that creativity can be found within all kinds of people and can develop without formal training. At the same time, Griet's class and gender position ensure that she will only have very limited opportunities to express her creativity. Her decision at the end of the novel to marry Pieter and settle into a stable and uneventful life may be interpreted as a kind of renunciation of creativity.