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Johannes Jan Vermeer Biography

    Birth Year : 1632
    Death Year : 1675
    Country :

Johannes Vermeer, the finest genre painter of the 17th century, was born and died in Delft. He was the son of a silk weaver and tavern owner who sold art as well as beer. So very little is known about Vermeer that it is only presumed that he was at one time an apprentice to Carel Fabritius, Rembrandt's pupil. Vermeer married in 1653, had eight children, kept the tavern that he had inherited from his father, and painted in his spare time. He attracted very little, if any, attention during his lifetime, and it was not until 1860 that a Parisian art critic published a monograph on Vermeer and brought him to public notice and belated recognition. 33 canvases have now been positively identified as Vermeer's work, and it is upon these that his fame rests.

Vermeer's cool, perfectly balanced paintings present a world so calm as to be almost breathless. Most of his works present one female figure quietly occupied at some womanly task: making lace, reading, pouring milk, or playing a lute. Occasionally, two figures appear in this intimate world, and their relationship seems without speech as if all the world were under a spell of silence. Vermeer's composition seems extremely simple, but it is in fact carefully and intricately laid out. In each work, a careful analysis will show a series of interlocking rectangles filling up the entire surface with volumes rounded by silvery light coming from the side. The world is turned by Vermeer into a geometric pattern, inhabited by people who seem objects as a still life. Vermeer employed a soft palette, with blues, golds, and soft reds predominating.