So far I have avoided the most famous painters - ones that everyone knows, but today I thought I would do one of my favourites, the Dutch painter, Johannes Vermeer (1632-1675). The painting below "The Girl with the Pearl Earring" would have to be my all time favourite and if I had the money to buy just one painting this would be it - don't ask me why as I am not sure, but there is something special about it - perhaps the stillness.
In 1994 this painting was restored which involved removing the yellowed varnish along with the retouches that had been made during previous restorations. This resulted in the vivid colors originally used by Vermeer shining through and the intimacy of the girl's gaze was also greatly enhanced.
Vermeer is most famous for his domestic interior scenes such as "The Milkmaid" below - capturing a moment in time, just as a camera does - a woman engrossed in her task, in the stillness of her surroundings - so much captured in such a small painting (45cm x 41cm) yet so full of detail and colour as are all his works.
The painting below is "The Glass of Wine" - what amazing detail - I love the way the light spills into the room and across the back of the chair revealing so much detail - just look at the detail in the window its amazing. Many of Vermeer's paintings were done in the same room - around 20 of the 35 he painted - check out the window and floor and you will see them in many of his works - with only small modifications.
In April 1653, Vermeer married Catharine Bolnes, a wealthy Catholic woman and they had eleven children together but sadly, four died at birth. Catherine modeled for him in several paintings including "Woman holding a Balance" below. The painting behind the woman is a version of "Judgment Day" possibly by the artist Jean Bellagembe (1480-1535).
Vermeer painted thirty-five paintings in his life time (some sites say 40 paintings). It is assumed that Vermeer died from a stroke at the age of 43.
He was not well known outside of Delft where he lived (below). When he died, his family had to petition for bankruptcy as he had many debts. He probably couldn't believe the value of his paintings these days - worth hundreds of millions. However it took to 1800's before Vermeer came out of obscurity and not until 1920 before any value was placed on his works.