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Johannes Vermeer

Johannes Vermeer (1632 - December 15, 1675) was a Dutch painter. He is also sometimes referred to as Vermeer of Delft or Johannes van der Meer. Alongside Rembrandt, Vermeer is the best known painter of the Dutch Golden Age, and his paintings are admired for their transparent colours, careful composition and brilliant use of light.


Vermeer produced transparent colours by adding the paint onto the canvas in loosely granular layers, a technique called pointillé (not to be confused with pointillism).

Historians speculate that Vermeer possibly used a camera obscura to achieve a perfect perspective in his compositions, but the issue is disputed (David Hockney has been a major exponent of this theory).


Vermeer painted mostly in-house scenes, and even his two known landscapes are framed with a window. His works are largely genre pieces and portraits, with the exception of two city views.

His paintings cover all layers of society, at one time portraying a simple milkmaid at work, at other times works show the luxury and splendour of rich notables and merchantmen in their roomy houses. Religious and scientific connotations can be found in his works.

Influence of other painters

Carel Fabritius (1622–1654) who spent his final years in Delft. Vermeer's ideas about perspective, and his tendency to paint everyday themes were possibly influenced by Fabritius.
Italian painter Caravaggio (1573–1610), indirectly through Dutch followers.
Leonart Bramer, another painter from Delft, and witness to his marriage.
Vermeer owned a Dirk van Baburen painting, which appears in two of Vermeer's paintings.


View of Delft (1660-1661)Today, 34 images are clearly attributed to Vermeer, although in 1866, Thoré Burger attributed a list of 66 pictures to him. The known paintings are:

Christ in the House of Martha and Mary - Edinburgh, National Gallery of Scotland - 1654/55
Saint Praxidis - Private Collection - 1655
Diana and her Companions - The Hague, Mauritshuis - 1655-56
The Procuress - Dresden, Gemäldegalerie Zwinger - 1656
Girl reading a Letter at an Open Window - Dresden, Gemäldegalerie - 1657
A Girl Asleep - New York, Metropolitan Museum - 1657
The Little Street - Amsterdam, Rijksmuseum - 1657/58
Officer and a Laughing Girl - New York, Frick Collection - 1658
The Milkmaid - Amsterdam, Rijksmuseum - 1658/60
The Glass of Wine - Berlin, Gemäldegalerie - 1658/60
The Girl with the Wineglass - Braunschweig, Herzog Anton Ulrich Museum - 1659/60
Girl Interrupted at her Music - New York, Frick Collection - 1660/61
View of Delft - The Hague, Mauritshuis - 1660/61
Woman in Blue reading a Letter - Amsterdam, Rijksmuseum - 1662/64
A Lady writing a Letter - Washington DC, National Gallery of Art - 1662/64
The Music Lesson - London, Buckingham Palace - 1662/65
Woman with a Lute - New York, Metropolitan Museum - 1663
Woman with a Pearl Necklace - Berlin, Gemäldegalerie - 1664
Woman with a Water Jug - New York, Metropolitan Museum - 1664-65
The Girl with a Pearl Earring - The Hague, Mauritshuis - 1665
The Concert - Boston, Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum - 1665/66 (stolen in the night of March 18, 1990)
A Woman Holding a Balance - Washington DC, National Gallery of Art - 1665/66
Portrait of a Young Woman - New York, Metropolitan Museum - 1666/67
The Allegory of Painting or The Art of Painting - Vienna, Kunsthistorisches Museum - 1666/67
Mistress and Maid - New York, Frick Collection - 1667/68
The Astronomer - Paris, Louvre - 1668
Girl with a Red Hat - Washington, National Gallery of Art- 1668
The Geographer - Frankfurt am Main, Städelsches Kunstinstitut - 1668/69
The Lacemaker - Paris, Louvre - 1669/70
The Love Letter - Amsterdam, Rijksmuseum - 1669/70
Lady writing a Letter with her Maid - Dublin, National Gallery of Ireland - 1670
Young Woman seated at the Virginals - Private Collection - 1670
The Allegory of Faith - New York, Metropolitan Museum - 1671/74
The Guitar Player - London, Iveagh Bequest Kenwood House - 1672
Lady Standing at the Virginals - London, National Gallery - 1673/75
Lady Seated at the Virginals - London, National Gallery - 1673/75


Han van Meegeren (1898–1947) was a Dutch painter who worked in the classic tradition. Originally to prove that critics were wrong about his qualities as a painter, he decided to paint a fake Vermeer. Later, he forged more Vermeers and works of other painters, just to get the money. Van Meegeren fooled the art establishment, and was only taken seriously after demonstrating his skills in front of police witnesses. His aptitude at forgery shocked the art world and hence made it even more difficult to assess the authenticity of works attributed to Vermeer.

Vermeer in other works Vermeer's View of Delft features in a pivotal sequence of Marcel Proust's The Captive.
The book and film Girl, Interrupted take their title from the painting Girl Interrupted at her Music.
The book and film Girl with a Pearl Earring are inspired by the painting of the same name, and present a fictional account of its creation by Vermeer and his relationship with the model.
The book Girl in Hyacinth Blue is inspired by the painting of the same name, and the 2003 made-for-TV film Brush with Fate is based on the book.
The liqueur Vermeer Dutch Chocolate Cream Liqueur was inspired by and named after Vermeer and its bottle is embossed with his signature and has a logo incorporating the Girl with a Pearl Earring.

View of Delft by Johannes Vermeer    Art of Painting by Johannes Vermeer