Johan Vermeer

Johannes, Jan or Johan Vermeer (baptized in Delft as Joannis on 31 October 1632, and buried in the same city under the name Jan on 16 December 1675) was a Dutch Baroque painter who specialized in exquisite, domestic interior scenes of middle class life. Vermeer was a moderately successful provincial genre painter in his lifetime. He seems never to have been particularly wealthy, leaving his wife and children in debt at his death, perhaps because he produced relatively few paintings.

Vermeer worked slowly and with great care, using bright colours, sometimes expensive pigments, with a preference for cornflower blue and yellow. He is particularly renowned for his masterly treatment and use of light in his work.

Recognized during his lifetime in Delft and The Hague, his modest celebrity gave way to obscurity after his death; he was barely mentioned in Arnold Houbraken's major source book on 17th century Dutch painting (Grand Theatre of Dutch Painters and Women Artists), and was thus omitted from subsequent surveys of Dutch art for nearly two centuries.   In the 19th century Vermeer was rediscovered by Gustav Friedrich Waagen and Thoré Bürger, who published an essay attributing sixty-six pictures to him, (although only thirty-five paintings are firmly attributed to him today). Since that time Vermeer's reputation has grown, and he is now acknowledged as one of the greatest painters of the Dutch Golden Age.

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