Vermeer 1632 - 1675

Detail showing Vermeer's signature taken from 'Vermeer de Delft' by Gustave Vanzype; Bruxelles : Librairie Nationale d'art et d'histoire, 1908

Johannes Vermeer's signature

Taken from 'Vermeer de Delft' by Gustave Vanzype
Bruxelles : Librairie Nationale d'art et d'histoire, 1908
Fine Art Library 709.492VER


The paintings of Vermeer were largely forgotten until the mid 19th century, but today his small number of works, marked by an incredible verisimilitude and stillness, are instantly recognisable. It is thought that Vermeer may have been self-taught, though some art historians have suggested Leonard Bramer and Carel Fabritius as having supervised his training. He was a moderately successful painter during his short life, becoming a Master of the Delft Guild of St. Luke in 1663. However he died a decade later, leaving an enormous debt to his baker, which his widow, Catharina Bolenes had difficulty in clearing. Noted for his finely observed domestic interior scenes, it was widely believed that the artist used a camera obscura to achieve the near perfect painted rendering of objects and light, although this theory is now contested.