About Johannes Vermeer

The world famous painter Johannes Vermeer lived from 1632 to 1675. His father, Reynier van der Meer, also known as Reynier Vos, was originally a silk weaver and art trader. Later he combined these professions with being an inn-keeper. He was married to Digna Baltens, who came from Antwerp.

House Mechelen

F0056 Mechelen reconstructed.jpg

In 1641 Reynier Vos bought the house 'Mechelen' on the Markt. This house was originally an inn. He had good connections with talented painters such as Cornelis Saftleven and Egbert van der Poel. After his death in 1652 Johannes Vermeer inherited his father’s trade.

It is not known who was Johannes Vermeer’s mentor. In general it is presumed that he studied in Delft. As possible mentors the following persons are considered: Leonaert Bramer (1596 – 1674), a person well-known to his father and Christiaen van Couwenbergh. Furthermore he could have been influenced by Carel Fabritius, who died on 12 October 1654 because of the explosion of the gunpowder storage in Delft.

St. Lucas guild

Foto circa 1850 Gebouw Sint Lucasgilde-page-001.jpg

On 29 December 1653 Johannes Vermeer was a member of the St. Lucas guild; this was an association for painters and glass makers. St. Lucas was the patron saint of the painters. Vermeer was chosen as head of the guild in 1662, as well as in 1663, 1670 and 1671.

Johannes Vermeer’s Works

Gezicht op Delft.jpg

It is presumed Johannes Vermeer made about fifty paintings, of which 37 have been preserved. One of these is doubtful. This means he painted two or three canvases a year, which wasn’t so many.

Up to this day his works still inspire artists, scientists and millions of art lovers. His View of Delft is counted as one of the most beautiful and impressive city views of the 17th century. The absolute masterpiece of the famous Dutch light. A view of the world, where as once mentioned, only the sound is missing.

His Girl with the Pearl Earring is also known as ‘the Mona Lisa of the North'. It was the inspiration for Tracy Chevalier’s novel of the same name, which was made into a film in 2004. Vermeer’s Little Street will remain just as fascinating and unparalleled in all its seeming simplicity.

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Vermeer chart
Baptised 31 October 1632 in the Nieuwe Kerk
Married 20 April 1653 to Catharina Bolnes in a clandestine church in Schipluiden
Parents Reynier Janszoon (inn-keeper, silk weaver and art trader) and Digna Baltens
Children 15 children, of whom 11 still lived when he died
Guild in 1653 registered as ‘master’ in the St. Lucas guild
Buried 15 December 1675 in the Oude Kerk
grafsteen JV 01.JPG
Overview of paintings

The Netherlands

Amsterdam, Rijksmuseum (http://www.rijksmuseum.nl)

  • The Milkmaid (1658)
  • Woman in Blue Reading a Letter (1662-1665)
  • The Love Letter (1666)
  • The Little Street (1661)

The Hague, Mauritshuis (www.mauritshuis.nl)

  • Diana and her Companions (1654)
  • View of Delft (1658)
  • Girl with a Pearl Earring (1664)


Berlin, Gemäldegalerie SMPK (http://www.smb.spk-berlin.de)

  • Woman with a Pearl Necklace (1662-1665)
  • The Glass of Wine (1660)

Braunsweig, Herzog Anton Ulrich Museum (https://www.3landesmuseen.de/)

  • The Girl with a Glass of Wine (1662)

Dresden, Staatliche Gemäldegalerie (https://gemaeldegalerie.skd.museum/en/)

  • The Procuress (1656)
  • A Girl reading a Letter by an open Window (1657)

Frankfurt am Main, Städelsches Museum (http://www.staedelmuseum.de)

  • The Geographer (1669)


London, Buckingham Palace

  • The music lesson (1664)

London, National Gallery (http://www.nationalgallery.org.uk)

  • A Lady Standing at a Virginal (1670)
  • A Lady Seated at a Virginal (1674-1675)

London, Kenwood House 

  • The Guitar Player (1670-1671)

Edinburgh, National Gallery (http://www.nationalgalleries.org)

  • Christ in the House of Martha and Mary (1655)


Paris, Louvre (http://www.louvre.fr)

  • The Astronomer (1668)
  • The Lacemaker (1670-1671)


Dublin, National Gallery of Ireland (http://www.nationalgallery.ie)

  • Lady Writing a Letter with her Maid (1670-1671)


Vienna, Kunsthistorisch Museum (http://www.khm.at)

  • The Art of Painting (1664)

United States

Boston, Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum (http://www.gardnermuseum.org)

  • The Concert (1664)

New York, Metropolitan Museum of Art (http://www.metmuseum.org)

  • A Maid Asleep (1657)
  • Young Woman with a Water Pitcher (1662)
  • Woman with a Lute (1664)
  • Allegory of Faith (1670)
  • Study of a Young Woman (1672-1674)

New York, Frick Collection (http://www.frick.org)

  • Mistress and Maid (1666)
  • Officer and Laughing Girl (1658)
  • Girl Interrupted at her Music (1664)

New York, private collection

  • A Young Woman Seated at the Virginals (1670)

Washington, National Gallery of Art (http://www.nga.gov)

  • Girl with a Red Hat (1665)
  • A Lady Writing (1666)
  • Woman Holding a Balance (1662-1665)
  • Girl with a Flute (1665-1670)


Tokyo, National Museum of Western Art (https://www.nmwa.go.jp/en/)

  • Saint Praxedis (1655)


More about Johannes Vermeer

Do you want to know more about Johannes Vermeer and his paintings? Or want to see his paintings in detail? Visit these websites below: