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Dutch and Flemish

This is how a period is called that spanned approximately 300 years - from 1400 up through 1700 - which is the same time as the Italian Renaissance or the German art with artist such as Albrecht Dürer. All these styles influenced each other.

View of Delft by Vermeer Before the Reformation (which resulted in the separation of the church in protestants and catholics in the 16th century), nearly all art had religious themes. A lot of this art was intentionally destroyed during the religious revolts. Religion would continue to be a major influence upon art for centuries to come, but the Reformation brought about the inclusion of very human, everyday themes in the art of the Netherlands.

The most famous artists of the Dutch and Flemish period were Johannes Vermeer, Pieter de Hoogh, Gabriel Metsu ...

Johannes (Jan) Vermeer

Johannes Vermeer is the Dutch master painter of Delft. Very little is known about his personal life. He was born the second child to a tavern keeper and an art dealer. He married a woman who came from a prosperous family but still always was in debt. He also dealt in pictures but with little success. He died poor, leaving his wife and eleven children rather penniless.

In his paintings Vermeer preferred precious colors like a dark-blue or a warm yellow. The fascination lies with the intricate combination of light, color, proportion and scale that enhances the moods and reality of the subjects. Only a small number of his paintings have survived, less than 40.

A popular theme was to use the light coming from the viewer's left into the painting. This powerful style of painting - dramatic use of contrast between dark and light - is known by the Italian word "chiaroscuro" or "Caravaggism" and was first used and made famous by the Italian painter Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio.

Vermeer has painted a lot of pictures with women in front of windows, for example:

Woman with a Water Jug
Young lady Adorning Herself with a Pearl Necklace
Lady with a Lute
Lady Reading a letter at an Open Window
Lady Standing at a Virginal

Here you can look at one of his paintings with a window in it, which is called:

The Milkmaid

Only if you do something with all your heart,
you will be completely satisfied.

(That is what comes to my mind, when I look at this picture.)

If this page has made you curious and you want to know more about J. Vermeer, go to this fantastic site that makes your imagination dive into Vermeers way of seeing the world. It also includes a large collection of links to other Vermeer sites on the Net.
If you want to go back to the Index of all available periods of art, please click here.
Or do you want to go forward to the next painter in this little encyclopaedia? Then click here.

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