Vermeer´s Craft and Artistry

As Arthur K. Wheelock Jr. claims in the Cambridge Companion to Vermeer by Franits, Wayne E., Vermeer was an extraordinary craftsmn who carefully conceived and structured his compositions to achieve the purity of expression he sought to convey. He had great sensivity to optical effects found in the world about him, and he translated these in his paintings through his use of light and color. He mastered a wide range of painting techniques to allow his vision to take visual form, which, when analyzed, provide extraordinary insights into Vermeer`s pictorial ideas.

Many of the scenes he chose to depict are those encountered in daily life, passing moments seemingly of little consequence. In his hands they take on almost metaphysical significance. Other paintings have explicit allegorical connotations, where ideas about human endeavor are introduced through complex emblematic and symbolic elements.

The study of the structure and execution of his paintings must likewise not remain an end unto itself but rather be understood as a means for exploring the emotional and intellectual framework within each of his works was created.