Much is being made of a Cupid revealed by X-ray in the newly restored Vermeer painting "Girl Reading a Letter at an Open Window".

The mythological god of love stands on her bedroom wall. This discovery is the big idea behind the current exhibit at Dresden's Gemaldegalerie in Germany.

But how significant can any painted-over image be? Artists re-work their paintings all the time. Finding meaning in something X-ed out is a fool's errand.

Yet ArtNet reports that French art historian Theophile Thore-Burger "intuits" the "secret tricks, and changes" in Vermeer's works as if deletion has importance.

What is plain to see in the painting is a woman - not a girl (who titled this picture? - reading a letter held in both hands, clearly gripped by what it says. What engrosses her so?

The newly discovered Cupid suggests it's a love letter. But would Vermeer, who was given to subtle monochrome shades be so obvious, so direct, telling us what we should see?

Sounds of silence

Consider the innuendos in the facial expression of his best-known work, "The Girl with the Pearl Earring." He rendered her in such a way that it's hard to know what she is thinking.

That's what makes it so arresting – what he leaves out of the picture. All you get is a quiet moment. The rest is up to you.

And get this. Recent research indicates that Vermeer didn't even paint the Cupid, that it was added to the picture years after he died.

So, why are we paying attention to it?

And why does Artnet say that the mythological god of desire hints at romantic, even illicit, in the letter."

Art critic Norbert Schneider also indulges in a flight of fancy. The professor emeritus of Art History at the University of Karlsruhe, Germany, said in his 2016 book "Vermeer" 2016 that the open window is "a symbol of extramarital relations."

As he explains it, "the woman's longing to extend her domestic sphere." That's a bit overfamiliar for me.

Discuss this news on Eunomia

Where's the focus on the painting, what there is in plain sight? Beside the woman and the letter, there's her bed, which tells you she's in her private space, and that the note is so important that she needed to be alone with it.

Perhaps Vermeer opened the window wide for light to read by and cool her excitement on receiving the letter.

But that's as far as I'll go.

Private thoughts

She's absorbed by the message in the letter. Like all Vermeer's paintings, you get private moments like that. But longings for a sexual encounter outside her home? That makes it a different painting, and not one Vermeer ever pictured.

Artnet's reports about the "Girl Reading a Letter by an Open Window" comes with a factoid more compelling than the news about the Cupid. The painting was saved from a bombing during WWII by the Soviet Army. The Russians gave it back to Germany for the sake of diplomacy.

But then they asked to keep it "as a thank you gift for their largess. The Germans refused. Moral of the story? Vermeer's painting stole the hearts of the Russians – and that was before any Cupid was discovered.