JOHANNES VERMEER (1632-1675)
Although Johannes Vermeer (1632-1675) is generally admired today as one of the greatest European painters, for centuries his personality has been enveloped in a veil of mystery, which makes it difficult to situate his work properly and to assess its worth fully. The texts that have been published on Vermeer in the past emphasise the ‘Sphinx of Delft’, mainly from a Romantic perspective. Was Vermeer an unknown and unrecognised genius? Did he really use a camera obscura? What was his private life like? What did he think about religion? Just who was his teacher? Interesting though such questions are, the search for answers has in fact only strengthened the image of the isolated genius without adding any new or illuminating information.
This monograph shows that there is in fact a lot of information available about the life and work of the master. That work becomes easier to understand once the painter is set within the context of the Delft school and the Delft community, and when one realises that his view and technique of painting were probably strongly influenced by the fact that more than half of his works were purchased by a single patron.
Walter Liedtke, the author of this book, presents new discoveries in a masterly way and provides the surprising evidence that Vermeer, whose work was not fully appreciated for a long time, stood out for his refined style and technique, the subtle way in which he gave his work a deeper meaning, and the extreme sensitivity that he brought to bear on the study of his subjects.
Vermeer: The Complete Paintings brings you the most thorough historical approach to the master so far. In addition, this beautiful book reveals
explained. It is a sensibility that is revealed without touching the mystery. And Walter Liedtke knows how to do that perfectly.
Walter Liedtke is curator of European painting at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. He is specialised in Flemish and North Netherlandish painting and the Delft school.