(Delft, Netherlands, 1632-id., 1675) Dutch painter. Current literature seems to show that Johannes Vermeer was not a famous painter in his day, but he is still considered today to be the greatest figure in 17th century Dutch painting after Rembrandt. What is probably most pleasing about his art are the unusual subjects, the strength of the composition and the use of some bright, clear colors.
With the exception of a visit to The Hague in 1672 to testify in a court case, he spent his entire life in Delft, where he belonged to the painters' guild, which he headed twice. It is believed, however, that he never devoted himself professionally to painting, but rather took care of the inn inherited from his father and the art trade business also inherited from his father.
In 1653, he married Caterina Bolnes, a member of a wealthy Catholic family, who gave him eleven children. The need to support such a large family prevented him from having sufficient financial means, as evidenced by the fact that a year after his death, his widow applied to be declared insolvent.
His works, probably executed for the sheer pleasure of painting, depict scenes of everyday life, usually interiors with one or two figures and a few objects, rendered with dense, pasty brushstrokes and lighting that reinforces the effect of intimacy and gives the scene a certain aura of mystery. Very few of his creations deviate from this general line (a few religious and mythological scenes), which is by far the most appreciated by the artist.
Because of the rigorous perspective and reflections, it has even been suggested that he used a camera obscura to produce his works. The only two known landscapes by his hand, especially the View of Delft, a work that surpasses those of the best landscape painters of the time, are also exceptional creations.