Johannes Vermeer's "Milkmaid" (1657–1658) is one of my favorite paintings. A humble milkmaid in a white kerchief headdress pours milk out of a jug in the corner of a kitchen by the window. On the table are a jumble of things--a bread basket, different kinds of bread, a crockery, and a blue glass jug--all exquisitely painted. The expression on the young woman is even more extraordinary. She is so focused on her menial task that one holds breath to watch her. Her contentment and gentle demeanor transform her plain features into a beauty to be remembered.