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In the three hundred years since his death, the name Johannes Vermeer languished in the backwaters of art history. Yet in recent times his status as a great artist has been assured and his paintings are more popular today than ever before. Vermeer, the pre-eminent Dutch genre painter, lived and worked in the town of Delft. Little is known of his life other than he painted very few paintings and that he died penniless. A master of light and colour, Vermeer excelled in creating the illusion of reality in his paintings, the result of a meticulous painting method often employing camera obscura. Most of Vermeer’s work follows a similar theme, often featuring a single female figure standing or sitting in a domestic setting engaged in a simple everyday activity such as reading a letter or playing a musical instrument. There is no incident or drama here, yet Vermeer’s genius is his ability to transform a placid everyday event into an episode littered with mystery and intrigue. This deliberate ambiguity leaves the mind racing to fill in the gaps of an otherwise unassuming scene. In their combination of exquisite brushwork and quietly enigmatic subjects Vermeer’s paintings are among the greatest masterpieces of Western art.
Presented by Tim Marlow
1 x 23′
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