Profile: Johannes Vermeer
Johannes Vermeer was born in october 1632 in Delft, Dutch Republic (now The Netherlands).
There are 34 works universally attributed to him. In other words, he has 34 paintings that are very famous. Some only amongst people who are common with art history, but others like the Milkmaid and Girl with a Pearl Earring.
Vermeer only used paintings, and you could call his works Baroque, but baroque is a very wide and complex word. If we split it up into two pieces, the (catholic) contrareformatorical baroque and the (protestant) classical baroque, Vermeer would fit the ‘rules’ of the classical variant. Dutch baroque, like Rembrandt van Rijn, Jan Steen and Frans Hals. (Dutch baroque is always classical.)
It’s not his full last name, nor his front name. Some have very different interpretations of the thing he did with the M, but all I know is that it looks unique and different. And to quote Chanel’s Karl Lagerfield, I can say ”In order to be beatiful, one must always be different.”
Vermeer’s first paintings contain mythological and religious stories and images. In his later works, you see that he is more inspired by the normal and the everyday life. Though he drew it more beautiful than it probably was. Like some of his landscape paintings. For example View of Delft (1660-1661)
Another thing you can see in Vermeer’s paintings that he perfers dead colouring. That means he uses a lot of browns and greys. Though in only some objects in his paintings he does use more saturated colours like blues, yellows and reds. For example
The Girl with the Wine Glass (1659-1660)
Vermeer was not the only one who used this contrast, but it really stands out in a lot of his works. Of course there is also this typical contrast in his most famous and important paintings : The Milkmaid and The Girl with a Pearl Earring.
One of my favourite Vermeers is probably Girl Reading a Letter at an Open Window.
Mainly, because it is multi-interpretable. You don’t know what kind of letter she is reading. She could be reading a letter from her boyfriend, or she could be reading a letter from her mother, that her father has past away. You don’t know who the girl is. You can assume she is a maid by judging by her clothes, because it’s not really frivolous, which is typical for the Baroque era. But yeah, what can you say, maybe it’s her morning gown, or she’s just poor. I love the complementary contrast in the carpet (or what is it?) and the curtain. It really stands out, though both colours are not very satured.
It’s sad that Vermeer died when he was 43 years old. He could’ve made so much more wonderful art if he were to become older than that.
Vermeer is one of the most accomplished artists in history. I admire him a lot.