Unlike the others, View of the Delft represents a landscape, whereas the rest, with the exception of “the little street”, represent people. This is one of the main reasons that influenced my decision. Besides, the fact that water is present in the picture as well as the use of the light so as to create a contrast (that I will analyse later) made me think of the possibilities of this painting.
To start with, I would like to analyse some of the painting’s basic features:
- It was painted around the year 1660.
- The material used is oil colours, painted on a canvas.
- The dimensions are 96.5 and 117.5 (we’re talking about centimetres obviously) and this picture turns out to be of the biggest ones painted by Vermeer.
- I didn’t mention any details of Vermeer’s life, as I suppose we are overwhelmed by them at this point but I would like to emphasise that the painting was sold in an auction called Dissius in the year 1696 at the price of 200 florins, which was quite a fortune at that time. At this time, Vermeer had already died.
As regards the elements present in the picture, the most important buildings are: the walls of the town, the door of Schiedam with the clock and the door of Rotterdam with its two towers. Summing up, the painting represents a general vision of the city from the harbour.
With reference to the techniques he uses, we must bear in mind that without them, this painting wouldn’t be a masterpiece, since painting landscapes in the 17th century was very common, at least in the Dutch art. Nevertheless, what distinguishes this painter, according to the experts, is that he managed to redistribute the volume of the buildings so that they would fit in his paintings, being these ones still recognizable, which obviously, is not easy.
So as to make things easier, Vermeer draws very simple lines, (about 3) out of which he will locate the different elements.
Another relevant aspect is that Vermeer uses the concept of symmetry in this painting. The fold of the cloud is interpreted as the centre of the canvas and that mark helps him situating the different objects in the painting.
I would also like to point out some possible reasons for Vermeer to have included some people in this painting. First and foremost, they may stand for a signal to describe the extension of the city. In other words, they may act as a scale reference in order to let us know how huge the city behind them is.
At the same time, they could have been included with the purpose of giving dynamism to the image. It goes without saying that a city of this amplitude 4 centuries ago had to be full of people.
In conclusion, they could be there either for stating the dimension of the city or for showing that the city is alive.
Last but not least, I would like to make a few comments about the range of colours that Vermeer uses. As some of my partners have already explained, Vermeer is not characterized for using many different colours. In fact, if you have a look at the real picture, as photographs normally differ from the original, the only colour which breaks with the routine is the blue used in the sky and reflected on the lake, as well as some yellows used in order to give light to some certain places. What is more, Vermeer had managed to locate these colours strategically, so that we can differentiate 4 opposed segments. In addition, the water does not show a pure reflect of the landscape, but a blurred image of the same.