Johannes Vermeer seemed to be very passionate about art. “His application of paint reveals extraordinary technical ability and time consuming care” (Heilbrunn timeline of art history). Although, just as much as he cared about art, it seems as if he cared about his family just as much if not more. He used his wife as a model in almost all of his paintings. Also, when the economy got rough, it was difficult for him to support his family and he became very depressed and ill. He was a very sincere man who put a lot of time and effort into his work. He seems almost stubborn in a way as well, because his art didn’t reflect what was popular at the time. People were purchasing etchings and engravings and Vermeer stuck to his talent and interests by his unique style of paintings, which caused him to have little success anyways. He never wanted to leave his hometown to sell his work elsewhere. Selling his art didn’t seem to be priority, but rather doing what he loves and being with his family did. This is unique because painting wasn’t thought of an art form back then. “It was seen as a way to make a living” (Melody Mis). He was a very passionate man.
Vermeer is one of the most admired Dutch artists. It is believed that his interested of his started as a child, where he was often around his father’s art selling business. He didn’t receive much master training because his father’s debts wouldn’t allow it. He attended St. Luke’s Guild which helped to teach him how to paint, along with his self-training skills. He wasn’t very popular in his day. A contributing factor to this is that he only produced around 45 paintings, which we only know 36 of those today.
Family Life: Johannes Vermeer was born to Reijnier Janszoon and Digna Baltens in Delft, the Netherlands in the year 1632. His parents were middle class inn keepers and they also wove silk for a living. He was raised Protestant most of his life until he met his wife Catharine Bolnes. She was a wealthy Catholic woman who influenced him to convert to be Catholic as well. Vermeer loved his wife. She modeled in most of his paintings. He even had his children model in one painting called “The little street”. He had 15 children but 11 of them died at birth.
Time Period: Vermeer’s art began to from in the seventeenth century, or otherwise known as the “Dutch Golden age.” The majority of his paintings were created during 1660-1669. Some of his paintings took three years to complete. This time period was difficult for his paintings to sell because of the Dutch economy. He died of a stroke in 1675. However, after almost 200 years after his death, his paintings were rediscovered and his paintings became very popular.
Vermeer’s most significant piece: As I looked through a book that contains all of Vermeer’s paintings, I kept going back and being drawn to “The girl reading a letter at an open window”. Although this is a very simple painting, the lighting and emotion in the picture is just amazing. The picture contains a woman (who is actually his wife) that is standing in front of a window in a bedroom. The room seems very private and she is faced towards the window looking down at a letter. You see her reflection in the open window pane.
Emotions felt: The emotions felt during this painting for me is a sense of understanding and concern. The look on the woman’s face seems as though she is in deep thought. I feel very intrigued. The picture helps us to