Vermeer: A Scientific Artist

“I want to paint what I see around us,” De Hooch, a fellow painter, said one night by the hearth of our local tavern. “Everything in our homes—the centers of our humble lives.”

“But we do not see things as they are,” Johannes argued. “This stein … this chair, for example, are not what we think they are. Our eyes take in light that our brain makes into objects. Canvases should probe the essences of all experience—what is there that we miss.”

[…]

“Paintings should help us see more clearly and appreciate what is all around us. Each day, we walk by half-opened windows and doors, but rarely look in.”

Excerpt from Memories of Johannes Vermeer (Antoni Van Leeuwenhoek on Dec. 14, 1685)

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