Johannes Vermeer (October 1632 – December 1675) was a Dutch 17th century painter who, together with Rembrandt van Rijn and Frans Hals is one of the most famous Dutch painters of all time. His work is considered to be among the finest examples of realistic painting, especially the way he used color and the illusion of light in his work. Most of his life is Shrouded in Myth. About all that’s known about him is that he was married to a woman named Catharina with whom he had eleven surviving children, he was raised Protestant but converted to Catholicism when they got married, and he died young and heavily in debt. We also do not know what he looked like. The man on the far left of The Procuress is thought but not conclusively proven to be him. This mysteriousness only adds to his almost inhumanly perfect painting.
Only about three dozen of his paintings have survived to this day. In March 1990, one (The Concert) was stolen out of the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston by two men pretending to be police officers. It’s never been seen since and the case has stumped the FBI for over 30 years, although they believe the painting has never left the US. Valued at over $250 million, it’s the world’s most valuable stolen object.
- The Allegory Of Painting
- Girl with a Pearl Earring
- Girl With Wine Glass
- The Lacemaker
- The Love Letter
- The Milk Maid
- View Of Delft
Vermeer's works provide examples of:
- Alliterative Title: "Het Melkmeisje" ("The Milk Maid")
- Author Appeal: His paintings feature a lot of young women, often in front of a window.
- As the Good Book Says...: His early works have biblical or mythological themes, such as "Christ in the house of Martha and Maria" and "Diana and her Nymphs".
- Bottle Episode: The majority of his paintings show the same small rooms in his house in Delft and often feature the same people, mostly women, as well as many of the same props.
- Creator Cameo: The painter in "The Art Of Painting" might be a self-portrait, according to some art historians. The same has been said of the man with the blue costume and black beret in "The Procuress".
- Dead Artists Are Better: His reputation has risen considerably in the centuries after his death, far more than during his own lifetime.
- Heavy Meta: "The Art Of Painting" shows a painting of a painter making a painting.
- Improbably Female Cast: Vermeer painted mostly women, hardly any men, children, older people or animals.
- Light Is Good: Vermeer is praised by artists and art fans alike for the way he uses natural light in his works. It often illuminates the women depicted in his work and makes us as the audience automatically feel sympathetic to them.
- Mundane Made Awesome: Vermeer's paintings depict everyday people in domestic settings, doing everyday things like making lace, drinking wine, or pouring milk, but are done so breathtakingly realistic that they are amazing to look at.
- Person with the Clothing: "Girl with a Pearl Earring", "Girl With The Red Hat", "Woman With A Pearl Necklace".
- Scenery Porn: His "View On Delft" is renowned for its depiction of the sky and the light reflecting in the river.