Jan Vermeer
Biography of Dutch Realist Genre-Painter, Portrait Artist, Delft School.

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Girl With the Red Hat (1665-6)
National Gallery Washington DC.
By Jan Vermeer.
A masterpiece of Dutch Realism
from the 17th century.

Girl with a Pearl Earring (1665)
Royal Picture Gallery Mauritshuis.
One of the greatest portrait paintings,
By Jan Vermeer.

Jan Vermeer (1632-1675)


Famous Paintings
Jan Vermeer's Art


The leader of the Dutch Realist artists, Jan (or Johannes) Vermeer specialised in genre painting and informal portrait art (mostly domestic interiors with one or two figures), although he also painted a very small number of cityscapes and allegorical works. Active in Delft, he was a moderately successful painter while alive, but after his death his work was largely forgotten about. That was until 200 years later when the art critic Thore Burger published an essay in 1866 acknowledging him as one of the greatest Old Masters of the school of 17th century Dutch painting, and a key figure in Protestant Reformation art of Northern Europe. As Vermeer worked extremely slowly, he only produced about 45 paintings in his lifetime.

His best known works include Girl with a Pearl Earring, (c.1665, Mauritshuis, The Hague), The Milkmaid (c.1658, Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam), The Art of Painting: An Allegory (c.1666, Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna), Girl With the Red Hat (1665-6, National Gallery Washington DC), Woman Reading a Letter at an Open Window, (Gemaldegalerie, Dresden), Woman Holding a Balance (1662-3, National Gallery of Art, Washington DC), and View of Delft (1661 Mauritshuis). He is regarded as one of the best genre painters in the history of art, and one of the best portrait artists of the Dutch Golden Age.

Woman Holding a Balance (1662-3)
(The Goldweigher)
National Gallery of Art
Washington DC.
Dutch Realist genre painting at its best.

Frans Snyders (1579-1657)
Still life painter from Antwerp.
Hendrik Terbrugghen (1588-1629)
Painter of the Utrecht school.
Adriaen Brouwer (1605-38)
Noted for his tavern genre-pictures.
Adriaen van Ostade (1610-85)
Peasant scene artist, from Haarlem.
David Teniers the Younger (1610-90)
Peasant, guardroom scenes.
Gerard Terborch (1617-81)
Genre painter, Amsterdam, Haarlem.
Aelbert Cuyp (1620-91)
Dordrecht landscape artist.
Jan Steen (1626-79)
Leiden artist: tavern scenes.
Jacob Van Ruisdael (1628-82)
Haarlem-born landscape painter
Pieter de Hooch (1629-83)
Famous Delft school genre-painter.
Gabriel Metsu (1629-67)
Intimate small-scale genre scenes.

For top creative practitioners, see:
Best Artists of All Time.

Early Life

Little is known of Vermeer's early life, but he was born in 1632 in Delft, Netherlands, to a lower-middle class family. His father was a silk weaver and art dealer who later also became an innkeeper. When his father died, Jan inherited the inn and art sales business, which helped to supplement his career in painting. His early apprenticeship years are vague, but it is thought that he may have studied with the Dutch artists Leonaert Bramer (who painted nocturnal scenes and frescoes) and/or Carel Fabritius. Other possible influences were Dirck van Baburen and Hendrick Terbrugghen (leading members of a group of Dutch artists who were influenced by Caravaggio, the so-called Utrecht Caravaggism group).

It is difficult to give a chronological description of Vermeer's paintings, as he only dated three. These are The Procuress, 1656 (Gemäldegalerie, Dresden), The Astronomer, (1668, private collection) and The Geographer, (1669, Städelsches, Frankfurt). His early works tended to be larger in scale and brighter in palette. As he matured, his paintings became smaller and his colour palette cooler, dominated more by yellows, grays and blues.

For the best still life painters:
Jan Davidsz de Heem (1606-83)
Utrecht School of Dutch Realism.
Willem Kalf (1619-93)
Pronkstilleven Paintings.
Samuel van Hoogstraten (1627-78)
Interiors, genre works, still lifes.
Rachel Ruysch (1664-1750)
Flower painter, still lifes.

For a list of the highest priced
works of art sold at auction, see:
Top 10 Most Expensive Paintings.

See: Greatest Paintings Ever.

For the
definition of art,
see: What is Art?

Painterly Technique

Vermeer is particularly renowned for his treatment of light which takes on an almost pearly veneer. He achieved this by a method called pointillé, which involves using layers of granular paint to give a transparent end effect. We are not sure how Vermeer prepared for his paintings, as no pre-drawings exist, but it is thought he may have used a camera obsura to achieve positioning in his compositions. This was an early imaging device, and when a composition was viewed through the lens, it would cast a subdued light over the subject, rather like the lighting achieved in Vermeer's paintings. These light effects are known as halation. When it came to colour, unlike many of his contemporaries, Vermeer liberally used ultramarine, which was created from the incredibly expensive pigment lapis lazuli. This can best be seen in the turban of his famous painting The Girl with a Pearl Earring.

Light and Colour

Above all, Vermeer was interested in the effects of colour, light and reflected light. Typically he tries to capture the moment when natural light floods a space, or the glittering reflections in metal vessels or surfaces, or fabrics.

One of the curiosities of Vermeer's colour palette, compared with that of his his contemporaries, like Pieter de Hooch, was his preference for natural ultramarine (one of the costliest colour pigments, made out of crushed lapis lazuli) instead of the cheaper alternative azurite. He was also a supreme exponent in the use of white lead, umber and charcoal black to create white walls which reflect natural daylight with different intensities, permitting the display of uneven textures on the wall's plastered surface.

In 1653 Vermeer became of member of the Delft Guild of Saint Luke, a local trade association for painters, which demonstrated respect among his peers. The guild records indicate that he did not initially pay his joining fee, which suggests that he had financial difficulties. Around 1662 he was elected head of the Guild.

Vermeer died in 1675, he was only about 43 at the time. Had he lived longer, the world would not have been denied the opportunity to see how this master's works would have matured. As it is, thanks to his 'rediscovery' in the 1860s, Vermeer is now considered one of the greatest figures in Dutch Baroque art, and, due to his small output, his works are among the most valuable in the history of art.


Famous Paintings By Vermeer

Vermeer produced some of the greatest genre paintings in the history of art, among which are the following:

The Procuress (1656) Oil on canvas. Alte Meister Gallerie, Dresden.
Girl Asleep at a Table (c.1657) Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York
Soldier and a Laughing Girl (c.1658) Oil on canvas. Frick Collection, New York.
Girl Reading Letter at an Open Window (c.1657) Alte Meister Gallerie, Dresden.
The Milkmaid (c.1658-1660) Oil on canvas. Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam.
The Little Street (c.1657-1658) Oil on canvas. Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam.
View of Delft (c.1660-1661) Oil on canvas. Mauritshuis, the Hague.
Man and Woman with a Wine Glass (c.1658-1660) Gemaldegalerie, Berlin.
A Woman and Two Men (c.1660) Herzog Anton Ulrich-Museum, Brunswick.
Young Woman with a Water Jug (c.1662) Metropolitan Museum, New York.
Woman with a Pearl Necklace (c.1664) Staatliche Museen zu Berlin.
Woman Holding a Balance (1662-3) National Gallery of Art, Washington DC.
Woman in Blue Reading a Letter (c.1664) Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam.
Woman Playing a Lute near a Window (c.1664) Metropolitan Museum, NY.
The Music Lesson (Lady and Gentleman at the Virginals) 1665 Royal Collection.
The Concert (c.1665-1666) Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, Boston, MA.
Girl with a Pearl Earring (c.1665) Mauritshuis, the Hague.
Lady Writing a Letter (c.1665-1670) National Gallery of Art, Washington DC.
The Love Letter (c.1669-1670) Oil on canvas. Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam.
The Art of Painting (c.1666-1673) Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna.
Lady Standing at a Virginal (c.1673-1675) National Gallery, London.
Lady Seated at a Virginal (c.1673-1675) National Gallery, London.
The Lacemaker (c.1669-1670) Oil on canvas. Louvre, Paris.
Girl with a Red Hat (c.1666) Oil on panel. National Gallery, Washington DC.
Girl with a Flute (c.1666) Oil on panel. National Gallery, Washington DC.
Lady Writing a Letter with Her Maid (1670) National Gallery of Ireland.
The Guitar Player (c.1672) Oil on canvas. Iveagh Bequest, Kenwood, UK.

The Art of Jan Vermeer (1632-75)

Recovered from complete oblivion by modern research, the forty pictures or so which can be confidently ascribed to Jan Vermeer of Delft are now regarded as the consummation of Baroque painting in Holland. Technically considered, Vermeer is simply the most able and exquisite practitioner of the bright style that Holland produced. There never was an observation more exquisite than his of the degrees of absorbed or reflected light, a more scrupulous care in decorative and modelling edges, a more careful regard for substance and texture, a more simple and gracious method of construction. He was also the greatest exponent of the Dutch formula of composition. no one gave greater value to the arabesque of the figure locked into a pattern of architectural quadrilaterals. He had refinements of colour all his own - ineffable harmonies of pale blue and straw yellow. More briefly, as a creator of light, Vermeer exercises a "white magic" uniquely his own.


After early experiments in bordello scenes, religious subjects and mythology, he settled practically to one theme - women serving or reigning in an exquisitely kept home.

His finest pictures show only one woman - the Milkmaid, the Pearl Necklace, the Girl Making Tea, the Woman Reading a Letter**, the Portrait of a Girl, The Woman with a Water Jug - these are the finest Vermeers. When he adds a second figure, the picture loses; when he adds a third, the picture ceases to be a fine Vermeer. In short, people as related to each other, the very staple of Dutch genre painting, did not deeply engage his interest. He was engrossed with another relation - that of a woman to her home. That he made fairly sacramental, and such was the root of his peculiar poetry. One might also say that, in Vermeer's hands, these single-female pictures become a unique form of vanitas painting, as moralistic as any work by Harmen van Steenwyck (1612-56), Jan Davidsz de Heem (1606-83), Willem Kalf (1622-93), Willem Claesz Heda (1594-1681) or Pieter Claesz (1597-1660).

**One of the painters influenced by Jan Vermeer's Woman Writing a Letter was the Danish genre-painter Vilhelm Hammershoi (1864-1916)

Vermeer's attitude has been described as chivalric, and, without wholly accepting the term, one need not quarrel with it. Nor does it seem sentimental to emphasize the fact that this cultus of the home, this delicately worshipful feminism, seems to centre around his fair and doubtless efficient wife, Catherine Bolenes, whom he married at twenty-one, and who was still in her modest beauty when he died at forty-three.

Jan Vermeer was born at Delft on All Hallows of 1632, the year young Rembrandt signed Dr Tulp's Anatomy Lesson. In April of 1653 Venneer married, and at the end of the year was admitted as a master by the painters' guild. He was the headman in 1662, 1670 and 1671. He died in December of 1675, leaving a widow and eight children and considerable debts to his baker. Biographically, we know little more about him than that.

Only one of his early pictures, the Procuress (1656), is dated. So any chronology is dependent on inferences from style, and must be regarded as uncertain. The Sleeping Servant, is more Rembrandtesque and looks earlier than any other Vermeer. It is sensitively executed in browns, in a manner suggestive of Rembrandt, and even more of Nicolas Maes, then a young pupil of Rembrandt. None of the luminous blue-grays so characteristic of Vermeer's developed style are present. The composition is loose, and without the later complicated refinements.

Two rather large pictures, Christ in the House of Martha and Mary (1654-55, National Gallery of Scotland) by Jan Vermeer Christ with Mary and Martha, and Diana and her Nymphs, offer a curious problem. Both are distinctly Italianate. Already the luminous blue-gray tonality is delightfully used. Christ with Mary and Martha is perhaps Vermeer's greatest invention, if not his finest picture. Most painters. of this theme have taken sides with the idealist, Mary, against her practical sister. Vermeer faithfully follows the New Testament in giving Mary a superiority in spiritual and physical loveliness, but he makes Martha, insisting on the dignity of her household task, equally noble and impressive. Since the dignity of the household task was to be Vermeer's best theme, this impartiality is significant. Apart from these literary and moral considerations, the picture is very strongly constructed and composed. The foreshortening, swaying inward and outward of the powerfully realized bodies, yields an uncommon sense of space and actuality. The linear pattern seems of little consequence, and this again is curious in an artist who soon was to make the most fastidious use of linear pattern.

Still of a different sort is Diana and her Nymphs. The composition is of baroque type, moving from left to right in asymmetrical balance. The blue-gray tonality, now with contrasts of yellow, is about that of Mary and Martha. The look again is Italianate, but with a difference, for an Italian would as a matter of course have represented Diana and her nymphs nude. Vermeer instead gives the general sense of a group of wholesome Dutch girls modestly dressed, but barefooted, and about to go on a wading party. But this charmingly rustic first impression is deceptive. These are plump and attractive Dutch girls, to be sure, but they wear nothing that their admirers would recognize as contemporary costume. These robes are a sort of compromise with the ideal of classical drapery. In this, as in Mary and Martha, certain solutions of the pictorial problem Which at first sight seem obvious really rest upon a very discriminating act of taste. At all times we may be sure Vermeer painted only after prolonged contemplation on his theme. These two pictures may reasonably be dated in 1654 or 1655.


They show Vermeer very seriously occupied in assimilating the Italian Renaissance style as interpreted by the best eclectic or baroque masters. One is tempted to ask how far he might have gone, had he continued the vein. Evidently he could have held his own with the best baroque painters of Venice and Naples.

Vermeer's Supper at Emmaus already shows in its incipience the favourite balance of pale blues and yellows. The painting is searching, with the fullest concern for all textures, so much so that at first glance one might think the picture Spanish. The group is admirably arranged; the sharply defined bright oblong of the tablecloth and the hint of the window at the left contrast effectively with the otherwise massively rounding forms. The placing of the four figures at four distances is superbly achieved; all the masses are securely established, yet kept well behind the picture plane and carrying with them more sense of space than is usual in Vermeer's later pictures.

On the expression of the faces, Vermeer has spent himself. The Christ revealing himself as he breaks the loaf is infinitely pathetic and benign. One feels deeply the nearness of the ordeal of Calvary. The rapt attention of the two pilgrims and the woman attendant is expressed with poignancy, and thoughtfully varied according to the character involved. Very masterly is the expression of the pilgrim with his back turned and his features hidden. A most exquisite compositional passage is the arrangement of the three visible hands in a sort of reversed crescent.

Some art experts consider that the distribution of light and the method of construction of this picture implies study of the Utrecht Caravaggians and specifically of the work of Hendrik Ter Brugghen. What seems to be the case is that young Vermeer was singularly impressionable to the finer Italian and Italianate feeling of the moment, and, had circumstances favoured, would have developed as one of the finest painters of religious and mythological subjects of his times. But no such career was possible for a young painter who had to support a family by his art in the Protestant city of Delft. The frustration of Vermeer's dearest ambition may after all have been a gain for us, as we shall see.

For another famous artist in Delft, see Emanuel de Witte (1615-92), the architectural painter noted for his whitewashed church interiors.

The question how Vermeer came to study the Italians, what pictures he may have seen, is interesting but really not very important. It is probable that Leonard Bramer brought back Italian pictures or engravings that would deeply move such a sensitive and searching spirit as was Vermeer's. In any case, good reproductive engravings of earlier and recent Italian paintings abounded, and one need not necessarily look beyond such material to explain Vermeer's Italianate beginnings. Nor was this effort wasted, even if it was not followed up. The study which Vermeer devoted to the making of Mary and Martha, Diana and her Nymphs and the Supper at Emmaus amounted to a liberal education in composition, and in taste generally, and this education he was soon to put to use along sound Dutch lines.

It was probably chiefly because there was no livelihood at Delft in such work that he tried a new experiment, in the Procuress, dated 1656. This brilliantly coloured character study in half-lengths and in a curiously divided square suggests compositionally Caravaggio and his school, and even more strikingly, though the mood is wholly different, the comicalities of the Italianate Hollander, Van Laer, nicknamed "Il Bamboccio." It is beautifully painted, the sharp colours as well balanced and harmonized as those in the work of the famous portraitist Frans Hals twenty years earlier. Except for the young courtesan, whose face is as pure as that of Mary of Bethany, the characterization is definite and masterly. The sensual young sport and the scheming old bawd are fully alive. But there is little sense of relation between the figures, and the social joys of the bordel are not even suggested. Think of it as a magnificent potboiler which happily failed to attract patronage.

Probably while he was engaged in these experiments he painted the first picture which the average art lover of today would recognize as his, the Milkmaid. It shows the cool splendour of his blue-gray luminosity, the ample figure is large and noble in its construction, the ordinary act of pouring out milk thoughtfully is invested with an almost sacramental solemnity. The woman's attitude seems immediately seen, even surprised, but worked out with severest reflection. Such a feeling was hardly to recur in the art of painting until two centuries later Jean Francois Millet painted at Barbizon, and he never sought or captured Vermeer's "white magic," which first asserts its spell in this admirable picture. Perhaps because a kitchen does not offer, in furniture, pictures, etc., the elements of Vermeer's later compositional complexities, the pattern of this picture may seem uninteresting, as compared with that of the later works. I feel the picture is rather the better for a simplicity which is of the essence, and it does not seem to me that Vermeer ever really surpassed the Milkmaid.

The pictures which we shall next consider were probably all painted between 1656 and 1666, Vermeer's twenty-fourth to thirty-fourth year. In them he capitalized the heavy but benign burden of an expensive home and a rapidly growing family. These little pictures are generally built around the figure of a woman working or at leisure in a room of a fastidiously appointed and beautifully kept house. The light usually falls gently in from a casement at the left, stealing over cool, gray walls, caressing pewter or latten jugs, drawing out the deep hues from an oriental rug which serves as a tablecloth, glinting on the carving of massive chairs or picture frames, hinting at the geographical pattern in a hanging map, finally, and most important, bringing out the rounded forms of the woman with an authority as convincing as it is gentle. This handling of the light, without strong contrasts, as a factor in construction is the distinguishing technical merit of Vermeer's painting, and it allies him with the greatest figure painters of all times.

Of these pictures with one woman as focus, the Pearl Necklace, is the most exquisitely painted - in the perfection of its enamel and its iridescences of pale yellow and blue. The posture, the hands raising the bight of the necklace, is, while apparently casual, really very studied, as expressing a modest pride in possession. Everything seems to emanate from the pearls and the pearl-like delicacy of the face of their wearer. All the painting is of the most exquisite sort.

More meditatively conceived, and possibly more rich in variety of surface, if less precious as colour, are two pictures (at Amsterdam and Dresden), on the theme of a woman standing quietly as she reads a letter. Possibly a shade the finer is the picture at Amsterdam, for the largeness of the construction of the figure and the close, fretlike pattern of the map and the rectangles made by it and the chair backs. It also has an attractive homeliness which the more aristocratic version at Dresden lacks.


Another gem among these interiors with a housewife is the superb little Vermeer which is variously called a Woman at a Casement, or with a Jug. The woman is merely letting in the morning air as she tidies up, but she tidies up with a gesture as grand as that of a sibyl by Michelangelo. The grandeur is of the essence, and not stylistically imputed. Vermeer had seen and remembered precisely such an attitude as the daily ritual which made his home a delight was being accomplished. He records it with gratitude and affection, enhances it by every compositional device which might express its dignity and convey the character of the place. All his perfections in balance and manipulation of light-creating and form-giving colour are so quietly present in this picture that it is easy to overlook them. For concentrated elegance in feeling and tone, the little Girl making Lace, has no rival. And again it is not any elegance arbitrarily imposed upon the efficient girl at her feminine task - the elegance is in the act itself, in the busy, skillful hands going carefully about a routine act. Vermeer does not in the ordinary sense idealize, and never sentimentalizes these household offices, rather he discovers and reveals them in a beauty which is generally obscured by use and wont.

In his few formal portraits, Vermeer follows discreetly the example of Rembrandt in his first objective manner, and sensibly waives the studied, decorative effect of his genre pictures. Such work did not deeply engage his imagination, and in this phase he is merely one of a dozen superior Dutch portraitists of the moment. Exception must be made for the Head of a Girl. With its extraordinary reality, it is rather a character study than a portrait in the formal sense. Simply as construction of form in tints which have the value of light it is perhaps one of a dozen finest pictures in the world. And here it may be noted that the forms of a fine painter are never bulges, are never thrust out towards the eye, have no relation to the forms of sculpture. They merely exist in a pictorial world which the eye is invited to enter and explore. It explores and ascertains the presence of the forms and their validity. Such is the way of Rembrandt, Hals, Velazquez, and technically Vermeer is of their great company. Aside from the technical perfection of this Head of a Girl, is its richness of characterization - its suggestion of physical and moral vitality, of human worth and amiability. The study of this little picture, which holds Vermeer's genius in epitome, should show that human imponderables of admiration and sympathy are quite as important in it as its accuracy of observation and its perfection in technical resourcefulness.

A few very fine compositions with two figures probably fall within this marvellous decade. The Music Master and his Pupil, is the most remarkable. The two figures, the girl at the spinet seen from behind, are placed deep in the picture and subordinated, as repeats of such round forms as the cello on the floor and the stoneware vase on the table. While the figures are very necessary, and the relation of master to pupil well realized, the picture has really become portraiture of a room. The general, severe pattern of varied quadrilaterals is varied by the heavy oriental rug which falls heavily and irregularly from the table and spreads out over the floor. Absolutely indispensable is the little gray jug on the table which brings to a sort of focus the few round elements in a composition generally rectangular. Think the jug away, or cover it with a finger in a reproduction, and the whole picture grows dull. Except for the Love Letter, where the compositional complications are perhaps too overt and sophisticated, this is the most complicated of all the Vermeers, and without loss of naturalness of effect.

His outdoor picture, the View of Delft relies on the contrast of the dull red of the tiled roofs with a prevailing gray which here and there flowers into deep blue. The sense of texture in the brick houses and heavy barges is given by a system of heavy dots which yield a positive coruscation. The neutral tint of the bit of nearby strand is a terracotta inclining to salmon-pink. Throughout, the painting is of the most precious sort, though the effect is merely unpretentiously natural and right. There could be no more delicate homage from a painter to a beloved, native town.

Among what seem to be late Vermeers, Lady and Servant, is very handsomely painted, but the slight motive hardly justifies the large scale. The picture balances uncertainly between portraiture and genre painting, and is not convincing on either score. For intricacies of composition, the Letter, is one of the most interesting Vermeers. It is built in sharp opposition of tall rectangles, oblongs, and the diamond pattern of the pavement. One looks through a vestibule, through an open door to where a richly dressed woman, seated and holding the keyboard of a lute, looks. sharply over her shoulder at a deferential maid who has just delivered the letter still unopened in the lady's free hand. A little drama is implied. There is a strange apparitional effect, as of an event happening in another light, and almost in another world than that of the beholder. Ingenious.

Vermeer was an inerrant eye, a fastidious and self-conscious artist, a devout admirer of women, whether in the aspect of graciousness or serviceability, a lover of his home. It seems as if he felt such a broadly moral estimate must suffice us, for the single portrait of himself turns its back to us. The famous and rather large picture, the Atelier (aka The Artist's Studio), consummately well painted, repeats in unobtrusive form those refinements of composition which we have just discussed in the case of the Letter. The painter at the easel, in his fantastic striped jerkin and rumpled silk stockings, is in our world. The heavy, brocaded curtain, the table, the rafters, the big map, cut off another space, another world through which is passing the strangest of apparitions - a woman rather Javanese in aspect, her eyes closed, her hair fantastically decked out with big leaves, her left hand holding firmly a big folio volume, her right hand delicately balancing horizontally a long, straight trumpet. What does it all mean? Perhaps we were never meant to know, possibly Vermeer himself did not know. It is easy to see that the bulging and broken contour of the woman's drapery - it is that, and not a frock - was just what was needed between the corner of the table and that of the map, that the foreshortened quadrilateral of the big book carries the diaper of the pavement into the upper part of the picture, that the fantastic headdress relieves the oval of the head from what might otherwise have been an insipid presentation. In short, there are sound stylistic reasons for whatever may seem bizarre and enigmatic in the picture.

Many genre painters of Holland exceeded Vermeer in energy and in scope. None, not even Rembrandt, produced a style of fine art painting at once so lyrical and so completely truthful. His theme, the sacredness of the woman who makes a happy and well-ordered home, seemed to him to admit of few variations and to need neither emphasis nor ornamentation. To that extent his art may seem to be objective and in a measure austere. But the austerity is warm with implicit feeling and expressed in a style that is always sumptuous, if restrainedly so.

Works by Jan Vermeer can be seen in the best art museums across the globe, including the Rijksmuseum and the Mauritshuis in the Netherlands.


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