When the Dutch painter Johannes Vermeer moved into a new home on Marktplaats in Delft in 1660, he already had an established reputation as a talented painter. He had studied with several of the most famous of his contemporaries and painted numerous genre masterpieces, portraits and historical allegories. Vermeer’s works explore themes of love and of art and life, and many were influenced by the Dutch Golden Age and Baroque painting.

Who was Johannes Vermeer?

Johannes Vermeer was born in Delft in 1632, probably in July or August. His father, Reynier Janszoon, was a local craftsman and a member of the painters' guild; his mother was named Digna Baltus. He had two sisters and three brothers. He painted until about 1652, when he went bankrupt. In 1653, he married Catharina Bolnes, with whom he had fourteen children. He died on December 6th, 1675, at the age of forty-three, after being ill for only ten days with what contemporaries described as "the stone." There are many theories about what kind of painter Vermeer was. Some think he began by imitating Rembrandt but then developed into a more original artist. Others think that there are no stylistic differences between his earliest surviving painting (from 1652) and his last. Vermeer’s painted portraits are considered to be the most accomplished examples of the genre in Dutch Golden Age painting. Vermeer painted "The Guitar Player" and "Woman with a Water Jug." He also painted the "View of Delft" and "The Astronomer." Vermeer is widely considered one of the greatest painters of the Dutch Golden Age, but little is known about his life. He is thought to have been born in 1632 in Delft, though some believe he was born earlier, between 1615 and 1620. It’s thought that Vermeer died around 1675 through illness or murder. His paintings are now displayed at major art museums around the world.

Early life of Johannes Vermeer

Johannes Vermeer was baptized in the Reformed Churchon 31 October 1632. He was the third child born to his parents, Maria Thins and Reynier Vermeer. As an infant he and his family moved to a house on the corner of the Brandsteeg and Oude Langendijk in Delft. Vermeer was one of seven children who survived childhood. Vermeer's mother died when he was eight years old and his father died six years later, leaving him as the sole support of his family. Vermeer had two brothers named Gijsbert (1621) and Pieter (1622), both younger, and two sisters named Cornelia (1624) and Margaretha (1628). His mother's family was relatively well off, but his father seems to have been less prosperous. The artist's father, Reynier Vermeer, originally came from Mechelen in the Spanish Netherlands (present day Belgium), where he had been a master painter in the guild of St. Luke since 1588. The Vermeers were Catholic, though some of Johannes' ancestors had been Protestant iconoclasts.

Vermeer's famous technique called 'painting in progress'

Vermeer's paintings are noted for their realistic depiction of light and the effects it has on colors. Vermeer used a camera obscura to create his paintings, a tool that was not yet fully understood by painters at the time. His style is also notable for its wonderful composition and symmetry, as can be seen in "Woman Holding a Balance." Vermeer is constantly experimenting with the different ways that light affects the color of objects in his painting. He uses simple objects like vases, spoons, books and even just pieces of fruit. By moving these objects around in his room with the sunlight shining through them, he creates different effects that he then translates into his paintings. His compositions are constantly shifting around as he is constantly trying out new ideas with his subject matter. The overall impression created by these techniques is one of an artist who is working on creating his painting before your eyes. As you look at Vermeer's work you feel like he is constantly working on making these paintings perfect. The technique seems unfinished, but it is this technique that gives Vermeer's paintings their charm and beauty.

Who Was Vermeer's Teacher?

Johannes Vermeer has long been recognized as an important Dutch Baroque painter who produced a relatively small body of work, most of which are domestic interior scenes. A paucity of documentary evidence, coupled with the ways in which Vermeer's stylistic choices diverged from market trends, have led scholars to question the extent of his artistic training. Several aspects of Vermeer's style were new when he introduced them. The subject matter of his paintings was unusual for North European painting at that time; his compositions had complex geometries; and he made innovative use of light and shadow effects. As the established master of light and shadow in Utrecht, Rembrandt would seem to be the obvious mentor for the young artist, but no mention is ever made of him by Vermeer or by contemporary witnesses. The greatest mystery about Vermeer is the question of his teacher, or teachers. We do not know who taught him how to paint. There are some indications that he may have studied with Nicolaes Lastman, but there is nothing conclusive to prove it.

Daily Life and Struggles of a Master Painter

Johannes Vermeer, also known as Jan Vermeer or Johannes van der Meer (1632–1675), was a Dutch Baroque painter who specialized in domestic interior scenes of middle-class life. Vermeer was a moderately successful provincial genre painter in his lifetime. He seems never to have been particularly wealthy, leaving his wife and children in debt at his death, perhaps because he produced relatively few paintings. Relatively little is known about Vermeer's life or personality. He seems to have been generally quiet and introspective. Little is known about his working methods or the identity of his pupils. Vermeer worked slowly and with great care, using bright colours and sometimes expensive pigments rarely used by other Dutch painters. He is particularly renowned for his masterly treatment and use of light in his work. The exact meaning of light in Vermeer's work has been long debated by critics and art historians. Vermeer painted mostly domestic interior scenes and thus placed a low priority on dramatic effects and narrative content in his paintings. His careful composition and luminous colouration give the impression that the objects in the picture exist in an eternal now, stripped of history and context.

The Story Behind the Tragedy of his Death

Johannes Vermeer was a Dutch painter who died at the age of 42 without leaving any clear mention of his death. Today, he is one of the greatest artists in western civilization with an uncommon talent. However, it has often been speculated that this genius died with his genius undiscovered.
Vermeer died in 1675, at the age of 42. He is believed to have been buried in the Oude Kerk (Old Church) in Delft, the Netherlands. The location of his grave was lost by 1720. That Vermeer did not paint any self-portraits is relatively unusual for a post-Renaissance painter, particularly an artist as famous as he was during his lifetime. The absence of any self-portraits among his entire oeuvre has often been noted by writers and art historians. Vermeer may have avoided painting portraits of himself intentionally, since he probably did not wish to be seen by posterity as vain or narcissistic. It may also be that no portraits were painted while he was alive because of the expense; Vermeer's family had been relatively well-to-do in the 1650s but by 1672 they were experiencing financial difficulties; it is possible that money was so tight that even a modestly sized self-portrait would have been beyond his means (the absence of any documented attempt to sell one also suggests that no such portrait existed).

What is the Hidden Meaning in Johannes Vermeer Painting?

Hidden in plain sight, in the paintings of Johannes Vermeer are complex clues to a puzzle that has puzzled art historians for centuries. These fine details are so well hidden in his paintings that only 20th Century photography has revealed them. As you'll see below, Vermeer was utilizing a technique that is almost identical to the process used in modern day motion pictures. Vermeer's mysterious images are even more intriguing when you consider that they were made before the invention of the camera obscura, which means there was no way he could have seen these images with his own eyes. It was not until 1725 that an Italian physicist demonstrated how a projected image could be captured onto a sheet of paper using a camera obscura. So if Vermeer couldn't have seen these images with his own eyes, how did he paint them? Only one thing makes sense: he must have used a device similar to the camera obscura. The Camera Obscura Before The Camera Obscura Before Johannes Vermeer, artists copied scenes directly from nature or from other works of art. While this method produced many great paintings, it also resulted in many mistakes because all objects are three-dimensional and no two people see things exactly alike.

Top 5 Famous Paintings Ever

1.The Girl With The Pearl Earring


The Girl with the Pearl Earring (Dutch: Het Meisje met de Parel) is a painting by Dutch Baroque artist Johannes Vermeer, painted c. 1665–1666 and now in the National Gallery, London. It is one of only three Vermeer paintings known to be signed; the others are Lady Writing a Letter with Her Maid (c. 1665) and The Milkmaid (c. 1660–1661). Johannes Vermeer painted three works that bear variations of the same title: this work, The Girl with a Pearl Earring (c. 1665/1666), and The Music Lesson (c. 1662–64). Some commentators suggest that these three works can also be grouped based on their subject matter as "women at home" or "women at leisure".

2.The Milkmaid


The Milkmaid is a painting by Dutch master Johannes Vermeer, completed in 1658. It hangs in the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. The painting is of a domestic scene, depicting a woman pouring milk into a bowl held by a young girl. Though only 54 cm × 45 cm, it is regarded as one of the most famous paintings in the world. Vermeer worked on the piece together with his wife Catharina Bolnes, who may have modeled for the painting. However, it is unknown who exactly posed for the painting. The original title was Woman with a Lute but changed to The Milkmaid when it was acquired by King William III of England and hung in his art collection in Hampton Court Palace, where it remained until 1803 when it was moved to its current home. The painting is noted for its texture and depiction of light and has been referenced numerous times in literature and film and has inspired artists such as Salvador Dalí and Claude Monet.

3.Allegory of Faith


Vermeer's The Allegory of Faith is a painting of a woman holding a large crucifix in her hands. Like much of Vermeer's work, the painting is set in the artist's studio, and the objects in the room have been carefully rearranged to suit the composition, just as he did with the objects in The Music Lesson and The Lacemaker. The objects in this picture are arranged along a diagonal line that leads from just beneath the sitter's left hand to her right hand. The woman is dressed in black, which was normally worn by widows. However, there is no evidence that she was a widow. In fact, she may be intended to represent Jesus' mother Mary, who according to Catholic doctrine was assumed into heaven without dying. It is possible that this painting was commissioned by a Catholic patron or collector. Vermeer was not widely known during his lifetime, but he did have a few religiously-committed patrons who might have been interested in commissioning a work like this for a private devotion. It is also possible that he completed it after accepting an offer from such a collector before returning it unfinished upon its rejection.

4.The Lacemaker


It depicts a young woman holding a half-finished piece of lace, gazing out of the canvas towards the viewer. The work is notable for its unusual triangular shape and for its use of light. Vermeer used extensive chiaroscuro in this painting, painting much of the canvas in dark browns to give the overall image a golden glow. The technique is similar to Caravaggio's tenebrism, which was popular at the time. The Lacemaker is currently in the permanent collection of the Kenwood House at Kenwood House, located in North London, England. It has been there since 1690, when it was donated by John Harrison, a local landowner and politician.

5.The Love Letter


The painting represents a woman writing a letter, while the woman herself is off-scene. Behind her, against the wall, are some bookshelves with paintings or knickknacks on them. The Love Letter was painted during the Dutch Golden Age. Vermeer used light and color to create drama, which was typical of Dutch art of the period. The painting shows two different kinds of light sources: one natural, from the window on the left, and one artificial, from the candle that illuminates much of the rest of the room. The latter light source is stronger than would be possible in this position in reality; Vermeer accurately portrays how objects close to a light source are more brightly illuminated than those further away. The viewer's point of view is close to that of the woman in the painting, who holds a quill pen in her hand. According to Vermeer scholar Anthony Bailey, "the immediacy of the relationship between image and beholder is almost disturbing." Allowing us to see her hands holding up her dress allows us to "look into her soul."