The Top 12 Best Johannes Vermeer's Famous Paintings
Johannes Vermeer was a famous Dutch painter who lived in Delft, Netherlands during the 17th century; and is widely regarded as one of the greatest painters in history.
He employed a range of techniques in his works, creating scenes with the everyday life of Dutch households, which remain some of the most beloved artworks in history.
His artistic output was prolific, with more than 350 works attributed to him, though there are only 35 surviving paintings and 32 known drawings. His style is characterized by the depiction of minute details of everyday life and ordinary objects.
Here are Johannes Vermeer's most popular paintings:
1. Girl with a Pearl Earring by Johannes Vermeer
One of his most well-known pieces is Girl with a Pearl Earring. It shows a young woman wearing an exotic outfit and a huge pearl earring. The Mauritshuis museum in The Hague is the primary residence of the piece.
Girl with a Pearl Earring depicts a young woman in a small, dark location as she focuses her attention on the viewer.
She is wearing a plaid shirt with a visible white collar underneath, the titular pearl earring, and a blue and gold hair band. It appears that she is about to speak as she has her head over her shoulder to the viewer's attention.
2. The Milkmaid by Johannes Vermeer
One of Vermeer's most well-known paintings is The Milkmaid. He once again depicts a scene from daily life in this piece.
The Milkmaid, however, differs from Vermeer's other similar paintings in that it depicts a strong maid at work rather than an exquisite, well-off young lady at leisure.
She is depicted in the artwork gently pouring milk into a short pottery pitcher on a table in a small room. She is a young, solidly built woman dressed in a blue apron, neat linen cap, and labor sleeves that are pushed up from the forearms.
3. View of Delft by Johannes Vermeer
The view of Delft was painted in 1659-1661. In those days, cityscapes were not common and were rare sights in works of art. The painting shows the city in a peaceful state, complete with a canal, a tower, and a water tower.
Although the artist did not draw the buildings' reflections in the water, the image is tied to the background with a long horizontal roof. The roof of the brewery 'De Papegaey' is difficult to pinpoint, but its slender tower is visible.
The artist's style adapted the roof's height and width to the city space, stressing the horizontal sides of the buildings. While View of Delft by Johannes Vermeers may look remarkably simple, it contains numerous interesting elements.
Vermeer's representations of the city's buildings are crisp and accurate, and he eliminates the large boats in the city harbor. He may have been on the upper floor of a house, overlooking the water, and was looking back to the city to the northwest.
The Rotterdam Gate and Schiedam Gate are also prominently visible in the distance. Another characteristic of the painting is the unique framing. It cuts the view off at arbitrary points, bringing the city closer to the viewer.
Vermeer uses high-key colors to depict architectural details that are distant but not quite visible. This is unusual, given the presumed distance between the viewer and the buildings.
In addition, the composition is strong, consisting of alternating bands of light and dark. The result is of the painting embodies the essence of Dutch culture and the city's distinctive architecture.
4. Woman with a Balance by Johannes Vermeer
This oil painting is one of his most famous works. The artwork, also known as "Woman Testing a Balance," is a Dutch Golden Age classic work.
Today, it's housed at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC. This painting was likely painted between 1662 and 1665 and measures 42 x 38 cm.
But what's so remarkable about this painting? Here's the scoop: It's a masterpiece. First, she's holding a balance of coinage and jewelry. S
he may be displaying the accumulation of wealth that she's made through trade. In 17th-century Holland, such wealth was reserved for merchants, traders, and artists.
Again, she may be measuring her wealth in terms of money, which was incredibly important during that period.
The painting's rectangular shape, however, sets up a serene and silent frame for the woman, while her white cap and blue morning jacket contrast with the background.
Vermeer's Woman with a Balance has become a classic work of art and continues to influence viewers.
5. Music Lesson by Johannes Vermeer
The Music Lesson is a rare masterpiece by the Dutch master and one of just 36 known works by the artist. It depicts a woman and gentleman playing music, as well as an instrument, on an easel. The work shows the music lesson that a young female pupil is receiving.
Notice the girl's slightly agape mouth, as if she is singing along with the music. Johannes Vermeer's colorful painting gives the impression that the music is playing right before her very eyes.
The leaning mirror was included as part of the foreground to give the illusion of depth and perspective. The leaning mirror is painted in a darker color when it faces downward, revealing the artist's easel stand.
He even used a mirror above the girl playing the piano. This adds to the depth of the work. The painting demonstrates Vermeer's idealism, which is evident in his depiction of righteous equality and the position of women in society.
The implication is that Vermeer was painting this as a way to express his ideas while inserting various musical instruments. Vermeer often left out dates or signed his paintings to avoid being associated with a particular artist. It was initially attributed to Frans van Mieris the Elder and was only after Vermeer's death that the work was recognized as one of his masterpieces.
6. Girl with a Wineglass by Johannes Vermeer
The ambiance of Girl with a Wineglass by Johannes Vermeer is bright and cheerful, and the background is made of shiny, glossy paint.
Vermeer's palette was incredibly diverse, using everything from rich ochre and umber to vivid blue and green. His rich and unique color combinations gave his work a brilliant sheen.
Vermeer believed that objects took on the tones of things around them. The painting is composed of multiple layers of light and dark, a quality that distinguishes it from similar paintings by the Dutch master.
Its composition is similar to a Pieter de Hooch painting but is different in that it is composite. Vermeer was known for his skill at blending water and oil, and this painting demonstrates his ability to blend these two mediums.
Vermeer's earliest paintings often feature women in seated positions, performing daily tasks. The Girl with a Wineglass, by contrast, is an exception. This painting has several similarities with The Glass of Wine.
7. The Glass of Wine by Johannes Vermeer
This artwork dates back to the 1660s. In the front of the artwork is a little marble slab, and in the distance is a silver wine cooler holding a glass of white wine. The work is remarkable for its accurate portrayal of light and reflections, which are captured beautifully on the wine glass's surface.
It is widely regarded as one of Vermeer's greatest works and a masterpiece of still life painting.
In The Girl with a Wineglass, Vermeer places a second man in the background to entertain the woman.
Both paintings are depicted in an interior room with windows on the left and a picture on the rear. The arrangement of furniture is different in both paintings, but they share the same rural atmosphere.
8. The Love Letter by Johannes Vermeer
In the work, a woman is seen sitting at a table while reading a letter. The room has few furnishings, including just a table, a single chair, some window shutters, and a tiny rug on the floor. The artwork stands out due to its masterful use of light and shadow, as well as the woman's expressive hand holding the letter.
9. The Little Street by Johannes Vermeer
Houses line either side of the street in this painting. As a whole, the composition exudes a sense of peace and tranquility thanks to the houses' warm, muted color palette.
The artwork is renowned for its precise rendering of the setting. Brickwork and other architectural elements, as well as reflections in the windows, have all been depicted with great precision by Vermeer. The street people are also meticulously rendered; small details in their attire and their stances distinguish them from one another.
Vermeer's skill at capturing the subtle beauty of everyday events is on full display in this lovely and evocative representation of life in a small village.
10. The Allegory of Faith by Johannes Vermeer
The work shows a woman reading a book while sitting at a table. A chalice, monstrance, skull, and cross are some of the religious relics that surround her.
The woman and the items on the table are brought into focus by a shaft of light emanating from somewhere out of view in the artwork. Light represents divine enlightenment, and the woman's thoughtful expression suggests she is pondering the spiritual themes at play in the artwork.
The picture is well-known for its symbolic color use and dramatic use of light and shadow. The white lace on the woman's collar and cuffs represent her innocence and purity, while the scarlet of her garment represents Christ's sacrifice. The painting's beauty and depth of thought have earned it tremendous praise.
11. The Geographer by Johannes Vermeer
An atlas of the world sits on the table in front of the geographer as he works on his study. A thoughtful expression permeates the geographer's face, as if he were immersed in concentration over his task.
The artwork is important because it shows the typical setup of a geographer's office, complete with books, maps, and other tools. The use of light and shadow in the artwork is especially noteworthy because it gives the illusion of depth and directs the viewer's attention to the map and the heavenly world.
In general, "The Geographer" is admired for its technical proficiency and meticulousness, making it a significant piece in Vermeer's body of work. This painting exemplifies Vermeer's talent for capturing his subjects' intellectual curiosity and dedication, and it provides a fascinating window into the world of science and academia in the seventeenth century.
12. The Astronomer by Johannes Vermeer
An astronomer is shown at his desk, surrounded by his scientific tools and a globe, in this work. The astronomer appears to be really immersed in his study, as he wears a serious, intent expression.
The Dutch artist Johannes Vermeer did not paint in great quantity, but he had a very distinct style. His work is noted for its mastery of light and color.
His technique was called Camara Obscura. In his paintings, Vermeer depicted his characters in different moments of their lives. His art is highly socially relevant and reflects these social conditions.