Dealing With Art
Around 1630, Vermeer’s father became an art dealer and innkeeper. This may have assisted Vermeer’s exceptional capacity to assimilate past and current painters’ formal conventions. After his father passed away in 1652, Vermeer had to train himself rather than study with other contemporary artists. He married a wealthy Catholic divorcee’s daughter and moved into their Delft mansion in 1653. He ended his life at the age of 43, leaving a wife and eleven children, but the weak Dutch economy of the early 1670s made his last years miserable.
A Unique Talent
Rembrandt’s disciple Carel Fabritius impacted Vermeer’s later perspective talents. Vermeer was interested in light’s behavior, especially sudden recessions, and focus shifts. They may have been influenced by the camera obscura (which projected real images), but their significance to the artist has been drastically exaggerated. His compositions are typically unique, with intricate formal and color relationships. He also painted with technical talent and precision. He often depicts the audience as a hypnotized voyeur.
Paintings like Young Woman with a Water Pitcher (Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam) and The Milkmaid (Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam) show Vermeer’s mature style (89.15.21). Lesser-known outliers include The Little Street (Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam) and View of Delft (Mauritshuis, The Hague) (32.100.18). The renowned Girl with a Pearl Earring (Mauritshuis) was one of a few bust-length studies intended as portraits.