Tuesday, December 14, 2010

ABC Wednesday and Artist of the Week

Jan or Johannes Vermeer van Delft
b. October 1632, d. December 1675

Dutch Baroque genre painter who lived and worked in Delft, created some of the most exquisite paintings in Western

That I recall, I've seen  four of Vermeer's paintings in person. The first two below at The Frick in New York City where they were exhibited for a short time, along one which part of their permanent collection entitled Soldier and a Laughing Girl. Also one entitled The Concert, which is in the permanent collection of the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston.

 The Milkmaid

 The Glass of Wine
c. 1658-1660

Woman with a Water Jug

The Concert 

Soldier and a Laughing Girl
 c. 1658

 Of the Vermeers I've seen, by far the most stunning is Soldier and Laughing Girl (above). I love the perspective, with the soldier's back turned to us as we gaze at the obviously pleased girl he is talking to. The map on the wall and the window are just right in detail; adding and not distracting from the subjects of the painting. I love how Vermeer paints windows.

 Girl with the Pearl Earring
c. 1665


Essential Vermeer

To view other takes on letters, visit ABC Wednesday the meme that spells it out (that's corny but I couldn't resist!)


  1. One of my favourite of all artists. Such quiet beauty. I saw some of Vermeer's paintings 'in the flesh' in Amsterdam. Amazing but I was surprised how small some of them are. It actually enhanced them, for me, oddly. Not sure why.

  2. Peter Webber filmed the story of Girl with a Pearl Earring in 2003; it's well worth seeing.

  3. SB: Vermeer's paintings were always enjoyable to me in books but when I saw some up-close and personal, I was drawn deep into them. Almost all of them are wonderful to me. He is one of my all-time favorites as well. Words always defy me also when it comes to describing art. I just feel it and go with it. :-) It must be so hard to paint so small and well. I guess maybe not so hard, if you know how. :-)

  4. I DO love these old paintings! Wonderful.

  5. I've always loved his paintings! You have some here I hadn't seen! Terrific! Hope your week is going well, Gina! Enjoy!


  6. I wanted to see the film based on the last painting; alas, no.
    ROG, ABC Wednesday team

  7. These are beautiful, and seem far advanced for their time.

    And of what you've posted, our favorites coincide, though Woman With a Water Jug comes real close to taking the cake.

    I'm glad you mentioned his windows, which are so ubiquitous, and when not explicit, so unequivocally implied (The Concert )

    It's years on, and I'm still humbled by what you contribute to my life.


  8. Ever since I studied Vermeer in college I have been very taken with his use of light, and love his paintings.

    I read the book and saw the movie, and liked both.

  9. Vermeer is amazing. I love the clear light that fills his paintings. His View of Delft and this one (I don't know the English title). I wonder what Vermeer would have created if he had owned a modern camera, he had such a great eye for composition.

  10. I like Vermeer a lot too. His detail, color, light, perspectives, angles, and mostly his capture of personalities. Plus the historical information in his paintings intrigue me, of a time not so long ago, yet forever away. I'm amazed you can remember what painting you saw where, Gina... there may be only a handful of paintings I can do that with; I've just been to too many galleries all over the globe. Good V post.

  11. On a wider historical note, I've always found 17th Century Dutch history to be fascinating. A small federal country, with a population of under 2 million whose very existence was denied by Spain until 1648 and which spent 80 years at war with the Spaniards, was a major European and world power. The Dutch still regard it as their Gouden Eeuw (Golden Age). Tolerant (at least by the standards of the time), it was the first thoroughly bourgeois society - producing the first modern stock exchange and even the first great speculative bubble; the famous tulip mania. It was this wealthy bourgeois society which provided patrons and work for artists like Rembrandt and Vermeer.

  12. Francisca - the Vermeers I saw were, firstly, unforgetable, and also not that long ago. I only made it to the Frick a couple of years ago. Besides, I'm not as world-weary as you! And LUCKY you. So great that you started your travels young. I've only just begun. :-)

    Francis - LOVED Girl with a Pearl Earring, the book (exquisite read) and the movie were both very good. I couldn't stop thinking of Colin Firth for months after that! ;-) I actually did a post (a ditty, as always) on Vermeer a year or so back. Will try to find the link.

  13. Hey Gina: Haven't checked in for a while. You've got great visuals, as usual. This rest at the "V" reminded me of the beauty of Vermeer.

  14. Vermeer's paintings intrigue me. He appears to have walked in on an 'every day' scene and just painted it, so enabling us to enter in and experience the time in which he lived.

  15. invention of light!

    Aloha from Hawaii

    Comfort Spiral



  16. I was lucky enough to see some of Vermeer's paintings when I made a brief trip to Holland from London. I really wanted to be a painter but having grown up near Toronto hadn't seen many originals that moved me. The Girl With the Pearl Earring was the first Vermeer I encountered in reality and remains my favorite because of the powerful effect it had on the way I understood art ever after. That's because the way he painted looks deceptively as though he captured a moment in time, almost like you would with a camera, but in reality he painted slowly. Carefully glazing pigments mixed with linseed oil he was able to enhance the reality of his subjects and their surroundings. Late in life I can only dream of having the kind of skill mixed with genius portrayed by the old masters but that reaction to the Dutch masters remains my ideal.

  17. Ooh I love Vermeer... Even the ones van Meegeren faked to bilk Goering et al


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