The Dutch Golden Age of the 17th century, when Dutch trade, science and art flourished. Various genres of paintings were produced during this period.
Until then, historical paintings, religious paintings and portraits were the most popular and valuable.
However, it became mainstream to paint various landscapes and fields such as genre paintings, marine paintings, botanical paintings, and still life paintings depicting the lives of farmers, and a new style of painting has become popular.
The Dutch painter Vermeer, who lived during the Dutch Golden Age, is also a painter who created new values.
Dutch painter Johannes Vermeer, who was active in the Dutch Golden Age, is one of the representative painters of baroque painting, and is a master painter of the 17th century Dutch Golden Age, along with Rembrandt.
Vermeer painted 37 paintings during his lifetime, and replicas of all of his works are on display at the Vermeer Centrum Delft in his hometown of Delft.
hours：10 – 17
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address：Voldersgracht 21, 2611 EV Delft, オランダ
Web：Vermeer Centrum Delft
17th century painters were not wealthy. They made a living doing side jobs. In such an era, Vermeer was a blessed painter who was able to devote his life to his main occupation of painting.
marrying a wealthy woman
Vermeer’s father ran a bar and hotel and was in debt.
Vermeer grew up in a family that was not very wealthy, but at the age of 20 he married the daughter of a wealthy man, and after that he lived on the support of his wife’s family.
Vermeer, who was able to give a wealthy life, often used expensive pigments in his works.
Vermeer Blue, a bright blue color often used in Vermeer’s works, is a pigment called Ultramarine, and is made from the ore Lapis lazuli.
Lapis lazuli, which is more precious than gold, is a beautiful ultramarine blue that is called “a fragment of the sky that sparkles with stars“. This color has a charm that attracts people.
Vermeer’s work, which used such ultramarine generously, got a sponsor for his work. His supporters enabled Vermeer to earn a living without the support of his wife’s family and allowed him to devote himself more to painting.
Lost everything in the war
Vermeer was a member of the Guild of Artists, and a man of rank and honor. He was also highly regarded as a painter, and Vermeer had wealth and fame. However, in his later years, he died with a huge debt.
The Anglo-Dutch Wars that started in the 1670s, depressed the economy. Then Vermeer lost the support of his sponsors. Moreover his wife’s family was also facing financial difficulties.
He could not get help from anyone, furthermore his paintings didn’t sell anymore due to the recession. All he was left with was a huge debt.
Vermeer died at the young age of 43 in 1675, five years after the war began. His cause of death is unknown.
Vermeer had 11 children, eight of whom were not yet adults at the time. After Vermeer’s death, his wife went bankrupt because she could not pay the debts.
Vermeer’s work, which was highly acclaimed as a painter during his lifetime, fetched a high price at an auction in 1696, more than 20 years after his death.
However, the number of Vermeer’s works was so small that his name was quickly forgotten in the 18th century.
It was in the 19th century that Vermeer’s work came back into the spotlight. In 1866, a French researcher wrote a paper on Vermeer, which brought Vermeer’s work back into the limelight as a ‘Forgotten painter‘.
Since then, Vermeer has become one of the most famous Dutch painters in the world.
Visit the place related to Vermeer
Vermeer’s hometown of Delft has two of Vermeer’s landscape paintings and his remaining works still exist today.
View of Delft
Masterpiece “View of Delft” (left pic) and a photo of the actual location (right pic)
“View of Delft” is a work that is characterized by a technique that emphasizes perspective by adding shading to the colors of the clouds.
The Little Street
Landscape painting “The Little Street” (left pic) and a photo of the actual location (right pic)
There is now wall art in the actual location of “The Little Street”.
address：Vlamingstraat 42, 2611 KX, デルフト