Johannes Vermeer

The one, the only…

This month’s artist is Dutch painter Jan Vermeer. He is known as the master of lights. Although he had a few outdoor paintings, he mostly painted people indoors. Most of his paintings feature a similar background. It almost looks like he painted in his studio. I say that because many have the same detailed glass window which bears light from the left. He usually added different furniture or decorations to the background to change things up a bit.


His work

Unfortunately, Vermeer only created a handful of work in his lifetime. Although he didn’t make much money, and was poor, he preferred to paint using expensive color pigments. According to Eric Larsen, in Vermeer The Complete Paintings By The Master Of Light, Vermeer painted very slowly to the point of producing about two paintings a year. He may have produced as little as 39 paintings all together. He painted in very thin layers. One notable feature about his paintings is the stillness they convey.


Talk about sadness

I find it really sad that such a great artist lived poor, and completed so few works. Many artists who we’d consider his equal or peers were wealthy, Rubens for example. Here’s hoping that he got everything that he deserves in the afterlife.


My 30 minute art challenge

I start with one of his most notable paintings, The Lacemaker. It is of a woman who is at work creating pillows and other useful things with fabric. Her entire focus is on her project. She ignores the viewer. The closed-cropping draws us, the viewer, into her work which then makes us as involved into the project as she is. It is a beautiful painting, and I hope Vermeer will forgive me when I butcher it in my 30 minute art challenge.   

Here is my first attempt.



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