Dutch genre painter, Johannes Vermeer, or Jan Vermeer van Delft, lived and worked in Delft. Though there are only some 35 to 40 paintings attributed to his hand they are some of the most superb paintings in the Western art world. Vermeer is among the greatest of Dutch artists of the 17th century, second only to Rembrandt. His paintings contain a poetic quality and mainly portray figures indoors.
His early paintings portrayed biblical scenes and his later paintings were allegorical. Vermeer is best well known for his domestic scenes catching quiet moments of the middle class, typically with a female figure central to the composition.
Vermeer had some artistic recognition in his lifetime, though it was primarily in Delft and The Hague. After his death Vermeer’s fame turned to anonymity until his rediscovery in Thore Burger’s essay in the 19th century. Vermeer’s reputation has grown since that time and he is now known as one of the greatest painters of the Dutch Golden Age.