Artists must prepare themselves for obscurity. They must practice their art for the satisfaction they derive from the process, or they’d have lived in vain.
About Johannes Vermeer
Johannes Vermeer, born 1632 – died 1675, had a short life of about 43 years. Today, he is thought of as one of the greatest dutch painter and his paintings are sold for millions. In fact, one of his 36 remaining paintings “The Concert” valued at a whopping $250M, was stolen in 1990.
His most recognized painting, of course, is “Girl with a Pearl Earring” that he had painted around 1665 when he was about 33 years of age.
About the Posthumously Famous
In speak this truth in jest, that the price of any good artist’s painting is often directly proportional to how long they’ve been dead and inversely proportional to how many works they’ve left behind. I’ve walked into art galleries and been told how the works of a recently deceased artist were superior investments.
Why wasn’t Vermeer Famous when he was alive?
I believe Vermeer’s initial invisibility was absolutely normal for an artist of some means who painted for his love of painting. His father was in the business of art that Vermeer had inherited at the young age of twenty – and so it wasn’t difficult for him to get by.
What makes Vermeer’s Paintings special?
What enchants me in Vermeer’s works is his love for lights and the details in his shadows. The following painting is a great example of both.
The featured image is of Vermeer’s “The Astronomer.” I love it for the directional lighting and the dark corner (with the clock) that brings out the globe so beautifully. And then there’s that painting on the far wall, but beyond it all, it’s a portrait of a man in action. The right hand of the astronomer stretches out to hold the globe steady while his intent gaze is fastened on to the map.
All Images Courtesy: Wikimedia.