Detail of the painting The Procuress (c. 1656), believed to be a self-portrait by Vermeer
Today he is considered to be one of the finest Dutch genre painters. Unrecognized in his own lifetime and forgotten until the end of the 19th century.
Only 35 of his original works are known for certain. With a few exceptions, he created small paintings of the corner of a room, but with a unique, exquisite, tantalizing observation of the organization of space, light, and enigmatic human relationships.
Notice, the artist chooses a moment before the action, which is not yet fully realized, which is so often frustrating. The artist gives the viewer the opportunity to speculate on what will happen next. This special gift of picture organization is combined with breathtaking painterly craftsmanship. Our eye captures a harmony of cool and warm tones that seems unintentional.
Jan Vermeer’s major works are Kitchen Maid, 1656–61 (Amsterdam: Rijksmuseum); Woman Holding a Balance, c. 1664 (Washington. DC: National Gallery of Art); Lady Standing at the Virginal, c. 1670 (London: National Gallery).
- Robert Cumming. Art: complete encyclopedia. – 512 p. – Moscow: Astrel, 2005.