A Lady Seated at a Virginal
– The painting in the background (The Procuress by Dirck van Baburen) was owned by Vermeers mother in law and is now in the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston). Details!
– Once owned by Théophile Thoré, the art critic who rediscovered Vermeer in the 19th century
Christ in the House of Martha and Mary
– The largest painting ever done by Vermeer
– A famous biblical scene and a rare religious-themed painting by the artist
Diana and Her Companions
– Greek and Roman goddess Diana with four companions
– It was discovered that 15cm of the painting had been cut off the right side and that the blue sky had actually been added in the 29th century
Girl Reading a Letter by an Open Window
– X-rays revealed that there was originally a cupid in the painting, making it likely she is reading a love letter.
– The use of light in this piece makes historians suspect he used a lens attached to a camera obscura to better achieve the ultra-realisti
Girl with a Pearl Earring
– A painting so good, so lifelike, one feels a connection when viewing it even though its 350 years old
– Its inspired movies, books, countless artists, and millions of people around the world.
– Many paintings are world famous, but this one manages to remain very personal despite its fame.
Officer and Laughing Girl
– The detail of the piece, the map in particular, is a Vermeer specialty and the actual map it was based on has been identified.
– The officer is wearing an expensive beaver pelt hat, likely imported from the New Netherlands (east coast USA) which was under Dutch control at the time
– This piece, along with The Geographer, shows the same subject, likely Antonie can Leeuwenhoek, the father of microbiology
– The book on the table is a well-known astronomy tome, open at the section which advises the astronomer to see inspiration from God. The attention to detail in such a small painting is mind-boggling.
– The intense concentration of the subject suggests a flash of inspiration has just struck
– Incredible detail, from the room, the tools, to the Japanese-style robe popular with scholars at the time
– The unusual empty background makes us focus on the exquisitely painted figure
– Salvador Dali made his own version of this in 1955
The Love Letter
– At first glance the painting appears innocent enough, but the lute and the slippers actually hint at sex lutes were such a symbol, and the removed (the scandal!) slippers also
– The floor gives a wonderful impression if depth, and the curtains in the foreground make the viewer feel they are peeking in on a private moment
– Remarkable attention to detail in this snapshot of a contemporary scene
– Almost Mona Lisa-like quality to the womans expression, with the shading leaving her exact expression unclear and open to interpretation by the viewer
The Music Lesson
– Part of the British Royal Collection since the reign of George III (1760-1820). If its good enough for them
– It was only identified as a Vermeer by Theophile Thore in 1866
– One named A merry company in a room the scene is more likely that of a brothel
– The man wearing a beret in the left of the picture is actually Vermeer
View of Delft
– One of the first examples of a cityscape
– Among Vermeers most popular paintings, it has featured on commemorative coins in Holland
Woman Holding a Balance
– Once called A woman weighing gold but a detailed examination revealed her hands to be empty
– The woman may have been based on Catharina Vermeer, the artists wife
– Some see religious or spiritual meaning in the painting due to the juxtaposition of her weighing her valuables against a backdrop of the Last Judgment painting in the background, with one art critic describing her as “symbolically weighing unborn souls