The Life, Struggles, and Successes of Dutch Painter Johannes Vermeer

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The Life, Struggles, and Successes of Dutch Painter Johannes Vermeer
Anthony Ambrosius Aurelius

“Dutch painter Johannes Vermeer (pronounced “yo-han-es vur-meer”) painted few canvasses which is why he had such a small collective of clients. Vermeer’s style of painting was not appreciated during the 18th century which occurred shortly after his death in 1675, as he was not listed within the catalog of Dutch painters most used by historians, and was the victim of theft by unscrupulous art dealers who painted over his signature with other more prominent names like Pieter de Hooch, (pronounced “pee-tur day hoe”) Gabriël Metsu, (pronounced “hab- ree-el mih-chu”) and Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn (pronounced “rem-brant har-men-zoon von reen”). All of these factors aided in keeping Vermeer and his genius out of the spotlight in the centuries to come.

It’s unlikely that any Vermeer canvases remain undiscovered other than The Concert which was stolen from the Gardener Museum in Boston, United States of America in 1992 which has not yet been recovered. Only 37 Vermeer canvases survive and it’s unclear as to what Vermeer looked like as he did not paint a self-portrait, however some experts have hypothesized that in the painting The Procuress, the young man smiling on the far left side of the painting is actually a self-portrait of Vermeer, that in the work of The Art of Painting, the artist working at the canvas is actually Vermeer from behind, and that The Astronomer and The Geographer may also be Vermeer as well, or at least share part of his facial features as both The Astronomer and The Geographer are strikingly similar to each other.

Vermeer left no written account of his life so it is unclear if he was taught by a master or if he had a pupil of his own, if he married for love or for status, and if his conversion to the Catholic faith was sincere and genuine. More is known about Vermeer’s family than is actually known about Vermeer as it is clear that his mother’s father was a watchmaker as well as a counterfeiter, and his father’s mother a dealer of second hand goods as well as a person who setup fraudulent lotteries. Vermeer’s father was an ambitious and violent man who was quick to resort to the blade. Vermeer’s mother was illiterate which is demonstrated by the fact that she signed her marriage certificate with the letter “X”.”

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