Full Name: Johannes Vermeer
Why Famous: Vermeer specialized in domestic interior scenes of middle-class life. Worked slowly and with great care, using bright colors and sometimes expensive pigments, with a preference for lapis lazuli and Indian yellow. He is particularly renowned for his masterly treatment and use of light in his work.
Vermeer lived all his life in the Dutch city of Delft where he became a moderately successful provincial painter. However by his death in 1575 his fortunes had fallen and he left his wife and 11 children in debt, largely due to Holland's dire economic situation after its invasion by France in 1572.
Vermeer then remained forgotten until French art critic Théophile Thoré-Burger rediscovered the artist in the 19th century. Vermeer's fame was further strengthened by an exhibition held from 1995 by Washington's National Gallery of Art and at the Mauritshuis in The Hague.
Today 36 of his painting survive, including perhaps his most famous "Girl with a Pearl Earring" (1665).
- 1653-04-05 Dutch painter Jan Vermeer marries Catharina Bolenes in Schipluiden
- 1653-12-29 Dutch painter Jan Vermeer becomes a member of the Guild of Saint Luke for painters in Delft
- 1971-09-23 Jan Vermeer's painting "The Love Letter" is stolen from The Centre for Fine Arts, Brussels by a 21 year old thief