Johannes Vermeer (1632–1675)
A Lady Writing
Nearly three hundred years passed between Johannes Vermeer’s death in 1675—when he left his widow with eleven children and large debts—and his recognition as one of the preeminent painters in Western art. Vermeer’s surviving pictures are few, numbering only thirty-five: most of them are domestic scenes of home interiors in which women are engaged in such daily activities as reading letters or making music. While Vermeer’s paintings capture moments in these individuals’ lives, his lasting fame is largely bound in his sensitive handling of paint, his compositional genius, and his miraculous ability to capture effects of light.