Johannes Vermeer - Artists & Painters, Facts and Childhood

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Johannes Vermeer's Personal Details

Johannes Vermeer was a famous Dutch Baroque painter of the seventeenth century

InformationDetail
BirthdayOctober 31, 1632
Died onDecember 15, 1675
NationalityDutch
FamousArtists & Painters, Artists, Baroque Painters
SpousesCatharina Bolnes
SiblingsGeertruy Vermeer
Childrens Aleydis Vermeer, Beatrix Vermeer, Catharina Vermeer, Cornelia Vermeer, Elisabeth Vermeer, Franciscus Vermeer, Gertruyd Vermeer, Ignatius Vermeer, Johannes Vermeer jr, Maria Vermeer
Birth PlaceDelft
ReligionCatholicism
GenderMale
FatherReynier Janszoon Vermeer
MotherDigna Baltens
Sun SignScorpio
Born inDelft
Famous asPainter
Died at Age43

// Famous Baroque Painters

Johannes Vermeer's photo

Who is Johannes Vermeer?

Having produced a total of only thirty four masterpieces in his career of less than twenty years, Johannes Vermeer is considered a legend in the history of art. A Dutch painter from the town of Delft, he was highly popular in his hometown, but never got a chance to see the outside world. He was known for being the only artist in the seventeenth century to have used the ultramarine shade procured from the costly lapis lazuli stone, on such a large-scale. He painted in the style adopted by other 'Golden Age' artists, with portraits and everyday scenes forming a major part of his work. He also attempted allegorical paintings and landscapes, producing a wide range of subjects in each of his paintings. Despite being an esteemed painter of the times, he had to suffer the effects of war as much as everyone else did. Towards the end of his career and life, he had accumulated a huge debt, especially from loans granted by a baker, Hendrick van Buyten, who had possession of the paintings as indemnity. The destitution suffered by Johannes, and the burden of providing for a family of eleven children, ultimately led to this genius' depression and subsequent death

// Famous Artists & Painters

Childhood & Early Life

Johannes Vermeer, also known as Jan, was born in 1632, to Reijnier Janszoon and his wife Digna Baltus, in Delft, Dutch Republic. He was baptized as a Reformed Christian on October 31 of the same year. Jan also had a sister, Geertruy, who was almost twelve years older.

Reijnier was initially employed as a Sericulturist, but he later began running an inn, and selling paintings. After his death, it was Jan who took over his father's work as an art dealer. During this time, the young man developed a strong passion for painting, endeavouring to pursue it as his career.

Career

It is unclear as to who trained Vermeer as an artist; while some think it could have been Carel Fabritius, others believe it to be Abraham Bloemaert. However, the most widely accepted opinion is that this Dutch artist, whose works are similar to the style adopted by the painter Caravaggio, taught himself to paint.

On December 29, 1653, Johannes joined a union of painters known as the 'Guild of Saint Luke', although he was unable to afford the enrolment fee. The 'Delft Thunderclap' explosion which took place the following year plunged the city into economic crisis and sickness

It was during this time, despite the turmoil, that Jan was able to produce some of the finest works of art. In 1656, the 24 year old budding artist painted 'The Procuress' on canvas, using oil, which depicts a scene in a brothel.

In 1657, it was art dealer, Pieter van Ruijven, who came to Johannes' help, patronizing the latter's paintings. Jan's contemporaries during this period, which is also called the 'Golden Age', were Gerard Dou, Pieter de Hooch, Gabriel Metsu, and Nicolaes Maes.

In 1657-58, the illustrious artist produced two famous paintings, 'The Little Street', and 'The Milkmaid'. The first is a small oil painting that is displayed presently at the 'Rijksmuseum', in Amsterdam, Netherlands. 'The Milkmaid' depicting a maidservant, is also exhibited in the same museum, and is considered as one of the finest pieces of art.

During 1659-61, this accomplished artist completed the paintings, 'The Girl with the Wine Glass', and 'View of Delft'. 'The Girl with the Wine Glass' is now displayed at the 'Herzog Anton Ulrich Museum', in Germany, while 'View of Delft' is exhibited at The Hague's 'Mauritshuis' art gallery.

From 1662-71, Jan was appointed as the Chair of the association 'Guild of Saint Luke', on four occasions, which proved his reputation as an artist.

During this time, he worked at a slow but steady pace, ensuring that the little work that he produced turned out to be the best. Around 1665, he finished the painting, 'The Music Lesson', which is also known by the name, 'A Lady at the Virginals with a Gentleman'.

In 1665, he also produced his masterpiece, 'Girl with a Pearl Earring', which has been classified as a portrait done in 'Baroque' style, also known as a 'tronie'.

From 1666-69, he painted the 'Art of Painting', 'The Astronomer', and 'The Geographer'. Of these, 'The Astronomer' and 'The Geographer' are two of the only three paintings that have been signed by this great artist. 'Art of Painting' is considered as one of the most spectacular and complex illusionistic works produced by Vermeer.

During 1670-72, he painted another masterpiece, 'The Allegory of Faith', a work of art that diverges from the usual subjects of his paintings. He also painted 'The Love Letter', which is now housed in Amsterdam's 'Rijksmuseum', and ‘Lady Seated at a Virginal’, exhibited at London’s ‘National Gallery’.

Due to attacks by the French and English armies, Netherlands suffered major economic and political calamity, making it difficult for the Dutch artists to sell their paintings. Even Vermeer was no longer able to sell his art, and was faced with dire poverty.

Major Works

One of the best works ever produced by this distinguished artist is considered to be his 'Girl with a Pearl Earring'. The oil painting on canvas was signed by the artist as 'IVMeer', and is presently housed in the 'Mauritshuis' museum in The Hague, Netherlands.

Personal Life & Legacy

In 1653, Johannes converted into a Catholic and got married to Catharina Bolenes, daughter of the wealthy Maria Thins. The couple lived at one of Maria Thin's properties near a church in Oude Langendijk. Vermeer and his wife Catharina were blessed with fifteen children, unfortunately four of them died in their infancy.

In December, 1675, this great artist passed away after being sick for a brief period of time. According to letters written by his wife, the wars waged by the country had hampered his career, and this had caused depression. At the time of his death, Johannes had left behind his wife with huge financial debts to clear.

Vermeer was interred at the 'Oude Kerk' church in Delft, on December 15, 1675. Some of his debts were cleared off by selling his paintings on a later date.

Several later artists, like Dutch Simon Duiker, American Thomas Wilmer Dewig, and Danish Wilhelm Hammershoi, copied Jan's style of painting. Spanish legend Salvador Dali paid tribute to Johannes in his surrealistic painting, 'The Ghost of Vermeer of Delft Which Can Be Used as a Table'.

The 1953 novel, 'After the Funeral', authored by crime fiction writer, Agatha Christie, refers to a painting by the famous Dutch artist. Other books that mention his works include Susan Vreeland's 'Girl in Hyacinth Blue', Blue Balliett's 'Chasing Vermeer', and J.P. Smith's 'The Discovery of Light'.

Films that refer to either the painter or his art include Peter Webber's 'Girl with a Pearl Earring', Peter Greenaway's 'A Zed & Two Noughts', and John Jost's 'All the Vermeers in New York'.

Even musicians like Louis Andriessen, Jonathan Richman, Bob Walkenhorst, and David Olney, have paid tribute to this legendary painter, in their compositions.

Trivia

This brilliant Dutch artist's works were recreated by Han van Meegeren, a painter of the same nationality, till he was arrested in 1947 for fraud.

// Famous Artists

Johannes Vermeer biography timelines

  • // 31st Oct 1632
    Johannes Vermeer, also known as Jan, was born in 1632, to Reijnier Janszoon and his wife Digna Baltus, in Delft, Dutch Republic. He was baptized as a Reformed Christian on October 31 of the same year. Jan also had a sister, Geertruy, who was almost twelve years older.
  • // 1653
    In 1653, Johannes converted into a Catholic and got married to Catharina Bolenes, daughter of the wealthy Maria Thins. The couple lived at one of Maria Thin's properties near a church in Oude Langendijk. Vermeer and his wife Catharina were blessed with fifteen children, unfortunately four of them died in their infancy.
  • // 29th Dec 1653
    On December 29, 1653, Johannes joined a union of painters known as the 'Guild of Saint Luke', although he was unable to afford the enrolment fee. The 'Delft Thunderclap' explosion which took place the following year plunged the city into economic crisis and sickness
  • // 1656
    It was during this time, despite the turmoil, that Jan was able to produce some of the finest works of art. In 1656, the 24 year old budding artist painted 'The Procuress' on canvas, using oil, which depicts a scene in a brothel.
  • // 1657
    In 1657, it was art dealer, Pieter van Ruijven, who came to Johannes' help, patronizing the latter's paintings. Jan's contemporaries during this period, which is also called the 'Golden Age', were Gerard Dou, Pieter de Hooch, Gabriel Metsu, and Nicolaes Maes.
  • // 1657
    In 1657-58, the illustrious artist produced two famous paintings, 'The Little Street', and 'The Milkmaid'. The first is a small oil painting that is displayed presently at the 'Rijksmuseum', in Amsterdam, Netherlands. 'The Milkmaid' depicting a maidservant, is also exhibited in the same museum, and is considered as one of the finest pieces of art.
  • // 1659 To 1661
    During 1659-61, this accomplished artist completed the paintings, 'The Girl with the Wine Glass', and 'View of Delft'. 'The Girl with the Wine Glass' is now displayed at the 'Herzog Anton Ulrich Museum', in Germany, while 'View of Delft' is exhibited at The Hague's 'Mauritshuis' art gallery.
  • // 1662 To 1671
    From 1662-71, Jan was appointed as the Chair of the association 'Guild of Saint Luke', on four occasions, which proved his reputation as an artist.
  • // 1665
    During this time, he worked at a slow but steady pace, ensuring that the little work that he produced turned out to be the best. Around 1665, he finished the painting, 'The Music Lesson', which is also known by the name, 'A Lady at the Virginals with a Gentleman'.
  • // 1665
    In 1665, he also produced his masterpiece, 'Girl with a Pearl Earring', which has been classified as a portrait done in 'Baroque' style, also known as a 'tronie'.
  • // 1666 To 1669
    From 1666-69, he painted the 'Art of Painting', 'The Astronomer', and 'The Geographer'. Of these, 'The Astronomer' and 'The Geographer' are two of the only three paintings that have been signed by this great artist. 'Art of Painting' is considered as one of the most spectacular and complex illusionistic works produced by Vermeer.
  • // 1670 To 1672
    During 1670-72, he painted another masterpiece, 'The Allegory of Faith', a work of art that diverges from the usual subjects of his paintings. He also painted 'The Love Letter', which is now housed in Amsterdam's 'Rijksmuseum', and ‘Lady Seated at a Virginal’, exhibited at London’s ‘National Gallery’.
  • // 1675
    In December, 1675, this great artist passed away after being sick for a brief period of time. According to letters written by his wife, the wars waged by the country had hampered his career, and this had caused depression. At the time of his death, Johannes had left behind his wife with huge financial debts to clear.
  • // 15th Dec 1675
    Vermeer was interred at the 'Oude Kerk' church in Delft, on December 15, 1675. Some of his debts were cleared off by selling his paintings on a later date.

// Famous Dutch

Johannes Vermeer's FAQ

  • What is Johannes Vermeer birthday?

    Johannes Vermeer was born at 1632-10-31

  • When was Johannes Vermeer died?

    Johannes Vermeer was died at 1675-12-15

  • Where was Johannes Vermeer died?

    Johannes Vermeer was died in Delft

  • Which age was Johannes Vermeer died?

    Johannes Vermeer was died at age 43

  • Where is Johannes Vermeer's birth place?

    Johannes Vermeer was born in Delft

  • What is Johannes Vermeer nationalities?

    Johannes Vermeer's nationalities is Dutch

  • Who is Johannes Vermeer spouses?

    Johannes Vermeer's spouses is Catharina Bolnes

  • Who is Johannes Vermeer siblings?

    Johannes Vermeer's siblings is Geertruy Vermeer

  • Who is Johannes Vermeer childrens?

    Johannes Vermeer's childrens is Aleydis Vermeer, Beatrix Vermeer, Catharina Vermeer, Cornelia Vermeer, Elisabeth Vermeer, Franciscus Vermeer, Gertruyd Vermeer, Ignatius Vermeer, Johannes Vermeer jr, Maria Vermeer

  • What is Johannes Vermeer's religion?

    Johannes Vermeer's religion is Catholicism

  • Who is Johannes Vermeer's father?

    Johannes Vermeer's father is Reynier Janszoon Vermeer

  • Who is Johannes Vermeer's mother?

    Johannes Vermeer's mother is Digna Baltens

  • What is Johannes Vermeer's sun sign?

    Johannes Vermeer is Scorpio

  • How famous is Johannes Vermeer?

    Johannes Vermeer is famouse as Painter