Art Wednesday

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.

Guitar player

The painting above "The Concert" was stolen in 1990 from the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston and has never been seen since. It is now estimated at $200 million.  And that is the problem with owning a Vermeer, how would I possibly insure it!!!



  1. I too am entranced by Vermeer's work. I loved the Girl with a Pearl Ear~ring movie which was like moving in a Vermeer landscape. Wonderful use of colour & light too!

  2. Insurence is one factor, what about coughing up for it in the first place?!

  3. Jo,

    I really like this painter, Jo. "The Guitar Player" is my favorite piece in this selection. There is something sweet to me in this picture of the little girl (at least she looks to be a little girl to me) playing the guitar in feminine attire.

    The last picture, "The concert" is a nice piece as well. It's too bad it was stolen.

    Lastly, I have to agree that your favorite piece from this collection shows great detail. The girl appears to almost "pop-out" of the picture frame. I like her too, although she's not quite my favorite, but almost. :)


    -Lady Rose

  4. Ruby - I would have to be given it as a gift - I don't have a few hundred million $$ floating about or will I ever!!!!!

    It is just an impossible dream - but fun to have!

  5. Ganeida - I have never watched the film but I have read the book - I wasn't sure if I wanted to see Vermeer's story in film. Isn't he meant to fall in love with the model?

  6. I think the book is more skewed that way, Jo. It is more ambigious in the film. Many of the sets have been set like a Vermeer painting. Forget the story & just enjoy the visuals. Both my girls complained there was no real story ~ unlike the book.

  7. Hi Jo,
    You have an eye for detail. You see so much more than a pretty picture, you see it at a greater depth, more so than the average person would.. Clearly, you have great taste and a passion for art.
    God bless,
    Michele Katherine

  8. Michele Katherine - I had the best art teacher. Each art class she would start by telling us a story about a painting, the artwork would come alive as never before. So many things are hidden in paintings, it is a bit like a puzzle - did you notice in the painting about the "balance" that the model is expecting a baby! This of course is Vermeers wife.

  9. Jo, I was going to say the same thing that Michele Katherine did:) You have a real eye for detail!
    I never really learned much about art nor did I have much appreciation for it until I started homeschooling Rebekah. It has been a good learning experience for me as I've been teaching her to look at art!

  10. I really enjoy Vermeers paintings as well thank you for such beautiful paintings today.

    Have a wonderful week.x

  11. Jo,
    I have a large sized picture of The Girl with the Pearl Earring, and whenever I look at it, I think of you since that was your profile picture. :) I do like Vermeer's paintings.

  12. Jo~Life has been so busy I can't keep up with all the wonderful blogs I follow. I'm behind on my Art Wednesdays! I love these. The Milkmaid is my favorite because of the lighting. I feel like I can sense the time of day and type of overcast afternoon. I wonder what that box is behind her? And why is it on the floor? Are her arms whiter near the elbow because of a tan or is that the light shining?

    Thank you for your insights, as always such a pleasure to visit you and hear your thoughts.

    Also, I don't have time to go back and comment, but I read your daybook and I just LOVE it when you use words like "whilst" ;)

    God bless you.


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