16 Facts About Johannes And Catherina Vermeer’s Art And Life

One of the greatest Dutch artists to ever live was Johannes Vermeer. His wife, Catherina and Johannes Vermeer have an exciting story.

Johannes and Catherina Vermeer had 11 children, and 7 of them lived to adulthood. Although he had a large family, we assume his wife and children sat as a model for some of his paintings, but we have no historical evidence that connects any individuals to his paintings. For a long time, Vermeer was forgotten, but today is considered one of the greatest Dutch Golden Age Painters to have ever lived.

No Historical Evidence Connects Vermeer’s Paintings To Individuals

No historical evidence survives that connects any of Vermeer’s paintings to a known individual in Vermeer’s life. Some suggest that Vermeer may have used his wife, daughter, and maybe even a family maid as his models.

It would make sense that he used people around him to pose and sit for some of his paintings, particularly his interior scenes. Using family members as models for his paintings would have been a common practice during this time.

Vermeer Used Mise-en-scene For His Paintings

Vermeer used a technique known as mise-en-scene, which means that the painter set the scene to be painted. Vermeer was a master at setting the stage for his paintings. He was able to assemble a cast of imagery cast of characters.

Vermeer’s paintings show how he used light, shadows, and color. This kind of detail in his work would have been impossible unless he had some stage models or sets for his paintings.

Johannes Vermeer Paintings Had Few Settings

Even though Johannes Vermeer used mise-en-scene, most of his paintings are set in the same two small rooms.

The Dutch author Hans Koningsberger wrote this about Vermeer and his painting settings:

“Almost all his paintings, are apparently set in two smallish rooms in his house in Delft; they show the same furniture and decorations in various arrangements and they often portray the same people, mostly women.”

Hans Koningsberger

Johannes And Catherina Vermeer Had Many Children

Johannes and Catherine Vermeer had many children. They had at least 11 children, seven of whom survived into adulthood. In reality, this means that their house was always full of children. And that Catherina was usually pregnant during most of their married life.

Johannes Vermeer Was A Dutch Baroque Painter

Vermeer is considered to be a Dutch baroque-period painter. The baroque period was a style of architecture, music, dance, painting, sculpture, poetry, and other arts that flourished in Europe from the early 17th century until about the 1740s.

Considered Part Of The Dutch Golden Age

Johannes Vermeer is considered one of the critical Dutch golden age painters. The Dutch golden age was a period in Dutch history in the 17th century. This was the time when Holland was producing many great painters, including Johannes Vermeer,

Johannes Vermeer Was Moderately Successful

During his lifetime Johannes Vermeer was considered a moderately successful provincial painter. He was recognized as a painter In both Delft and Hague in the Netherlands.

Johannes Vermeer Produced Very Few Paintings

Johannes Vermeer was a meticulous painter. Even though Johannes Vermeer is considered to be a successful painter, he was known to produce very few paintings. In his lifetime, there are just over 34 paintings that we know he painted.

Recently the National Gallery in Washington DC has confirmed that one of their Vermeer paintings, called Girl With the Flute, was not painted by Vermeer. The National Gallery, after a lot of careful analysis, said that one of his students must have painted it.

Johannes Vermeer Was A Meticulous Painter

Johannes Vermeer was known to be a very meticulous painter. He would work slowly and with very great care.

He was known to use costly pigments. Johannes Vermeer was also a master of using light and the effects of light in his artwork.

Johannes Vermeer Died At A Young Age

Johannes Vermeer died at a relatively young age. He died on 15 September 1675 at the age of 43. At the time, some of his youngest children were still toddlers.

After His Death, Johannes Vermeer Was Pretty Much Forgotten

After his death, Johannes Vermeer was pretty much forgotten. He was barely mentioned in Arnold Houbraken’s major source book on the 17th century about Dutch painters. And he was omitted from subsequent books and sources for nearly 2 centuries.

Johannes Vermeer Was Rediscovered In The 19th Century

It was not until the 19th Century that Johannes Vermeer was rediscovered. Gustave Friedrich Waagen and Theophile Thore-Burger published an essay attributing many works of art to Johannes Vermeer.

Considered One Of The Greatest Dutch Golden Painters

Along with other names such as Rembrandt, Johannes Vermeer is considered one of the greatest dutch painters to have lived during the Dutch golden age.

Johannes Vermeer Never Studied Abroad

Johannes Vermeer never studied art abroad. All of his art education was in Holland.

Johannes Vermeer Was An Avid Art Collector And Dealer

Johannes Vermeer was also known to be an avid art collector and art dealer. Being an art dealer would have given him another way to earn money instead of just depending on his artwork.

It could also be why he painted very few paintings during his lifetime. He may have been too busy with his large family and his art collecting and dealing business.

Johannes Vermeer’s Most Famous Painting Is Girl With A Pearl Earring

No doubt Johannes Vermeer’s Girl With A Pearl Earring is one of his most famous paintings. Many have called the Girl With A Pearl Earring the Mona Lisa of the north because both Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa and Johannes Vermeer’s Girl With A Pearl Earring feature a single woman who looks directly at the viewers.

Like Mona Lisa, Johannes Vermeer’s Girl With A Pearl Earring has her lips slightly parted, almost like she wants to start speaking to us to say something.

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Anita Louise Hummel

Hi, I am Anita Louise Hummel. I am an artist and a blogger. I paint mainly oil paints. I love to paint women, animals (mainly dogs and cats), and abstracts. I use a lot of gold and silver leaf in my paintings. I also love to blog about anything to do with art, business, Procreate, and all the wonderful artists that inspire me.

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16 Facts About Johannes And Catherina Vermeer’s Art And Life