These are the 12 most famous paintings by Johannes Vermeer, the most famous Dutch Golden Age painter, who lived from October 1632 to December 1675. Most of his works were praised for their transparent colors, precise compositions, and wonderful use of light. Although he was a fairly successful painter, he was not rich. Leaving his wife and children in debt at his death was possibly due to the fact that he painted very few artworks.
Girl with a Pearl Earring (1665)
Girl with a Pearl Earring is by far the number one of the most famous paintings by Johannes Vermeer. This is a painting of a 16-year-old girl, wearing exotic clothes and a giant pearl earring. The girl also wearing a headscarf that is brilliant blue and yellow against a black background, the shining pearl, the excellent capture of light and shadow on her beautiful skin, and the liquid pools of her eyes combine to create a work of beauty.
The Milkmaid (1658)
This painting depicts a young, strong-looking woman pouring milk into a container. Four Delft wall tiles with diverse pictures are located to the left of the subject at the bottom of the wall. Like in Leonardo da Vinci’s painting Mona Lisa, the woman is surrounded by a sense of mystery. This painting is a wonderful example of realism, color, and arrangement.
The Music Lesson or A Lady at the Virginals with a Gentleman (1662–1665)
This painting depicts a young female student receiving music instruction from a man. His mouth is partially open, creating the appearance that he is singing along with the music being played by the little girl. This shows a connection between the two figures, as well as the idea of love and music being linked. This was a popular theme in Netherlandish art at the time.
View of Delft (1660–1661)
This painting depicts Vermeer’s spectacular townscape of Delft, which is seen from the south side. His painstaking approach to this masterpiece is demonstrated by the fact that he put sand grains into portions of his paint to obtain a certain texture. This is one of the most famous paintings by Johannes Vermeer and is generally considered to also be one of, of not the, most famous cityscape in Western art.
The Lacemaker (1669-1670)
This is a painting of a lacemaker who is not a working lady, and she is accompanied by luxury objects such as a pillow and a book, most likely a bible, that is next to her. The red and white lace spilling from the cushion like a liquid form, which was rare for the period, is one of the abstract aspects of the painting. This is the artist’s smallest painting to date.
Girl Reading a Letter at an Open Window (1657)
This is a painting of a young Dutch woman reading a letter in front of an open window. The Cupid picture on the wall could indicate that the girl is reading a love letter. The use of a curtain in the painting has a long history and was highly popular in the mid-seventeenth century.
The Allegory of Painting (1666–1667)
This is a painting of an artist in his workshop, near a window, painting a female subject, with a detailed map of the Low Countries on the wall behind him. “The Allegory of Painting” is also known as “The Art of Painting” or “Painter in his Studio.” This is Vermeer’s second-largest painting.
The Astronomer (1668)
This is a painting of an astronomer touching a celestial globe despite the fact that he does not have a telescope. Vermeer worked on two paintings with scientific subjects that appeared to be related, the other being The Geographer. These two pieces of art are considered to be some of the most famous paintings by Johannes Vermeer. He pictured the two men as academic types. Only two of his paintings featuring solitary male figures as protagonists have survived.
The Geographer (1668-1669)
This is a painting of a man holding a pair of compasses, or dividers, and a terrestrial globe. It is frequently seen as a companion piece to Vermeer’s “The Astronomer,” as it shares many similarities, such as the use of the same model in the same clothing. The geographer is dressed in a Japanese-style robe that was popular at the time.
Lady Standing at a Virginal (1673–1675)
This painting depicts a well-dressed woman standing and playing the virginal in a home with paintings on the walls and some Delftware blue and white tiles made at home. The composition has been established based on artistic considerations and costume information. This painting may be paired with “Lady Seated at a Virginal,” which is on a canvas of about identical size.
Lady Seated at a Virginal (1673–1675)
This is a painting of a well-dressed woman playing the virginal in a home while she is sitting. The composition has been established based on artistic considerations and costume information. This painting may be paired with “Lady Standing at a Virginal,” which is on a canvas of about identical size.
The Concert (1665–1666)
One of the more famous paintings by Johannes Vermeer is actually the result of the fact that the painting was stolen from the Isabella Gartner Museum in 1990 and hasn’t been seen since. This is a painting of a trio of musicians and a vocalist being accompanied by a lute and a keyboard. The painting’s complicated geometry helps to maintain a sense of peace, even among the musicians. The figures are both illuminated and surrounded by a mystery silenced by an unsettling translucent light.
What famous paintings by Johannes Vermeer do you think we should add to this list? Comment below.