Vermeer painted slowly and carefully, producing about two paintings in a full year. In the entire world there are only about 36 paintings by Johannes Vermeer of Delft.
Some people have fallen in love with the magic and radiance of Vermeer’s paintings and have decided to travel the world, from Boston to Dresden and from Dublin to Washington DC, scouring the earth. Arguably the best are on display in Vienna, Amsterdam and The Hague. This type of pilgrimage and hypnotized fan tour is quite feasible as virtually all of the paintings are now in public collections and can be viewed during opening hours after purchasing the entrance ticket.
Do you recognize a work in his youthful style, when Vermeer was in his early twenties in 1653? Or is it in fact a late work like the one in Dublin?
Standing in front of a real painting by Vermeer… what do you really see and what do you fully appreciate? Do you see the technical wizardry in the way he used paint, layer after layer of glazes, with light bouncing between these layers? Did you use wet on wet, wet on dry on a certain part of the painting?
What can be recognized within the image, what is the history, psychology, and what physical objects can be distinguished? What is the level of reality? How does this “photographic reality” relate to her list of private possessions, which she left after his death in 1675? Many viewers have the idea that what Vermeer is showing us are views of his own private home with marble floors and all. In fact, what he sometimes does is paint fancy rooms, enhancing the interior by filling it with luxury items that don’t belong to him: musical instruments, architectural details…
And the meaning of the objects and the scenes, according to what we think now and according to the available knowledge of the current books of his time… what would be the meaning of the scenes represented by Vermeer according to those contemporary sources?
Do you really recognize the fullness of the artistic choices and visual tricks he put in to elevate a painting to a great work of art?
If you do, watching it can become the thrill of your life.
If you find that you’re missing a bit of all of that, you can dive into serious art books and get some fresh air after two months of reading. You can also read the novel. the pearl girl and I don’t know how many misconceptions it actually contains. Alternatively, you can click widely on the internet and see what you get in terms of knowledge, information, sophisticated theories and misinformation.
Finally, you can request that a specialist stand by your side and see what knowledge and passion they can produce. To really “get” it, it may take a specialist to learn to fully see and appreciate. I’m that kind of art historian.