Jans Vermeer

The-Geographer-C.-1668 - Jans Vermeer
The-Geographer-C.-1668 – Jans Vermeer

I have written briefly about how I got interested in Western Art in my previous post. While opportunities to view masterpieces of Western Art are rare in India, thanks to the Internet, it is not difficult to maintain an interest.

Recently, while visiting a house in Bangalore, I saw a print of a painting hanging on the kitchen wall. I had not seen this specific painting before, but something told me that this looks like a Vermeer painting. Thanks to smartphones and mobile Internet, a quick Search revealed that I was right. The print was of a painting by Jans Vermeer called ‘The Milkmaid‘.

I must admit that I was pleased at being able to recognise the artist. I had come across an article on Vermeer previously and am familiar with possibly his most famous work – ‘Girl with a Pearl Earring‘. I guess I must have seen this painting while reading about him, or maybe something about the style of the painting led me to the deduction. I do not know but I realised that I knew very little about this artist, so I started reading up a bit more about him.

Jans (or Johannes) Vermeer was a Dutch artist of the 17th Century. I guess it might be fair to say that when one thinks of Dutch artists, it is names like Rembrandt or Van Gogh that are more likely to come to mind. Indeed, while Vermeer did enjoy a modicum of success during his lifetime, he slipped into obscurity soon after his death. Part of the reason for this is that he did not have a large portfolio of work (only about 35 paintings are attributed to him).

This was the case till around the middle of the 19th Century when his work was ‘rediscovered’, nearly 200 years after he passed away. Since then, his reputation has grown to the extent that he is now considered as one of the masters of Dutch painting, indeed Western Art.

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