Jan Vermeer Paintings Oil Painting Reproductions
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Jan Vermeer is now easily one of the most famous Dutch artists of the seventeenth century, thanks to a renewed interest in his life based on the publications of books and recent feature films such as Girl with the Pearl Earring, named after his most famous painting, starring Scarlett Johanssen. Despite his extreme popularity today, during his own time, Vermeer was not very well-known and produced a relatively small body of work during his career including the thirty-five paintings which still exist that are currently attributed to him. There are no known drawings or sketches by Jan Vermeer and almost nothing is known about his personal life outside of his art. Vermeer was born in 1632 in Delft, the son of an art dealer there. It is thought that he was possibly a pupil of either Carel Fabritius or Leonard Bramer in 1653. In the same year he married Catherina Bolnes, with whom he would have at least eleven children. Because only three Jan Vermeer paintings are dated, it is very difficult to create a timeline for his work or for the evolution in his style that may have occurred throughout his life which ended in 1675. It is known based on financial records, that he did suffer hardship and only sold a few of his paintings during his entire lifetime. Vermeer most likely received some compensation by also working as an art dealer and relying in part on the financial ability of his wife’s family. These limited pieces of information are among the only surviving pieces of information regarding the life of Jan Vermeer. The paintings of Jan Vermeer are known for their quiet and still atmospheres that possess an expert depiction of light and the qualities it projects onto the subjects. Based on the three dated oil paintings of Jan Vermeer, his artwork is generally assumed to possess a loose sequence which moves from paintings which are quite clearly influenced by the artwork of the Utrecht Caravaggists of the 1620s and two of the Jan Vermeer paintings of this style consist of religious and mythological subjects. The influence of the Utrecht Caravaggists is displayed in the use of lights against a black background to soften and enliven the subjects. Later, Jan Vermeer artwork moved toward the portrayal of interior settings. Unlike many of the other Dutch artists who depicted merry scenes of the wealthy and semi-wealthy classes of citizens, Vermeer continued to portray scenes of reflection and solitude within his own paintings. None of the known Jan Vermeer oil paintings focus on portraying a connection of emotion between the viewer and the subject, but instead Vermeer chose to rely on the qualities of light, color, and texture to create representations of a paused moment in what is usually a very normal, domestic scene. Some of the most widely acclaimed oil paintings of Jan Vermeer are: Girl with a Pearl Earring, Maidservant Pouring Milk, Woman Reading a Letter at an Open Window, View of Delft, The Procuress, Allegory of Painting, Girl with a Red Hat, The Geographer, and Woman Holding a Balance.