About the artist: Jan Vermeer (1632 – 1675) was a Dutch artist who specialised in domestic interior scenes of middle-class life. He was a fairly successful painter in his lifetime but did not produce many paintings and therefore was not wealthy, leaving his wife and children in debt after he died.
Vermeer worked slowly and with precision, and often used very expensive pigments. He is particularly renowned for his masterly treatment and use of light. Almost all ofhis paintings are set in two smallish rooms in his house in Delft and show the same furniture and decorations in various arrangements. They also portray the same people, mostly women.
In the 19th century, Vermeer was rediscovered by Gustav Friedrich Waagen and Théophile Thoré-Bürger, who published an essay attributing 66 pictures to him. Since then, Vermeer’s reputation has grown, and he is now acknowledged as one of the greatest painters of the Dutch Golden Age. Like other major artists around this time such as Frans Hals and Rembrandt, Vermeer never went abroad and, like Rembrandt, he was a keen art collector and dealer.