Baroque and Beyond C. 1600–1850

Dutch and Flemish Painting

Who was Vermeer?

Known for his genre paintings and landscapes, Johannes Vermeer (1632–1675) painted hushed, yet captivating works such as The Girl with the Pearl Earring (1665), The Geographer (1668–1669) and, The Kitchen Maid (1660). His landscapes, such as A View of Delft (1662), are meticulously painted, highly detailed, and brightly colored. Many of his paintings include individual women, seemingly alone in their thoughts. His 1657 oil painting, Girl Reading a Letter By an Open Window, is a quiet work in which a young girls’ interior thoughts appear infiltrated by the outside world through both the act of reading and the light streaming in from the large window. Vermeer’s brushstrokes are nearly invisible, creating a porcelain-smooth texture in his work. E.H. Gombrich writes in The Story of Art that Vermeer’s paintings “are really still lifes with human beings” (Gombrich 433).


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