Johannes Vermeer

The painter Johannes Vermeer, 1632-1675

The life of Johannes 
Johannes Vermeer is one of the most famous painters of the 17th century and has a number of impressive masterpieces to his name. However, for a long time this beautiful selection of paintings was attributed to others and Johannes Vermeer paintings received little to no recognition. It was not until the 1970s that Johannes Vermeer was rediscovered. Since then 35 paintings have been recognised as “Vermeers”.

Johannes Vermeer always lived and worked in Delft. As the son of a silk worker he was, like his father, active in the art trade. Possibly Vermeer was a pupil of city fellow Carel Fabritius. In 1653 Johannes Vermeer became a member of the painters’ guild, of which he was the head for many years.

The work of Vermeer
Johannes Vermeer distinguished himself as an artist with inimitable colour schemes, impressive light, subtle use of colour and perfect compositions. Vermeer favoured the use of ultramarine, lead-tin yellow and expensive pigments. His work consists of timeless and subdued moments, genre pieces, allegories and townscapes, in which the influence of the Utrecht Caravaggists can be seen.

Vermeer’s later work consists of interiors with one or more people, usually women. These are intimate genre paintings in which the main character is engaged in an everyday activity, usually by a window that lets in daylight. Vermeer was uniquely skilled in depicting the light falling on objects.

Worth knowing

American author Tracy Chevalier wrote the book Girl with a Pearl Earring. This book was made into a film in 2003 under the same title. In the film, Colin Firth plays the painter and Scarlett Johansson the girl, whereby both the book and the film assume that the girl was a maid.

A masterpiece by Johannes Vermeer on your wall?

Do you want an impressive Johannes Vermeer masterpiece on your wall? Take a look at his paintings and choose your favourite in the size you want.