Wednesday, October 31, 2012
October 31 is the baptismal date of Flemish painter Johannes Vermeer, born in Delft (1632), who created some of Western art’s most exquisite paintings. Only 35 or 36 works are attributed to him, most showing figures in interiors, all admired for an intense sensitivity to light and color and for captivating, poetic images. Little is known for certain of his life or artistic background, though he painted slowly, had 14 children and died in debt and relative obscurity. His work was rediscovered in 1866. In recent years he has been heralded as a master, amid speculation that he used a camera obscura – an optical device that projects an image of its surroundings onto a surface – to achieve the precise positioning, perspectives and stunning light effects in his compositions. Pictured: the renowned “Girl With a Pearl Earring” (1665).