C. Hofstede de Groot

A Catalogue Raisonné of the Works of the Most Eminent Dutch Painters of the Seventeenth Century

Based on the Work of John Smith. Volume I

Johannes Vermeer



Johannes Vermeer - Christ in the House of Mary and Martha


1
Johannes Vermeer
Christ in the House of Mary and Martha
c. 1654-55
Johannes Vermeer
Christ in the House of Mary and Martha
Signed in full in the lower left-hand corner, on the bench upon which Mary is sitting.
W.A. Coats collection, Skelmorlie Castle, Scotland

The figures are life-size. On the right Christ sits in an arm-chair at a table; his head is in profile to the left. He speaks to Martha, who stands behind the table holding a basket of bread. He points out Mary to her with His right hand. Mary sits to the left at Christ's feet, leaning her head on her right hand and resting her left hand on her lap. She looks in profile to the right at Christ and listens attentively to His words. Christ has long brown curls, and wears a blue and purple dress. The type of His face and His attitude seem to recall an old Venetian picture. Martha's dress is a yellow check, with a red border and white sleeves; she wears a light yellow cap, a red fur, and a striped white waist-band. Mary is dressed in blue and red, and wears a cap striped in white and red. On the table is a white cloth, under the left-hand corner of which a Turkey carpet is to be seen. In the background is a plain brown wooden partition, with a slight effect of light to the left. Martha's left sleeve is somewhat out of tone. Still the two shades of blue are well harmonised, as well as the different shades of yellow in the cap, the basket, the tablecloth, and the faces. The clothes are very broadly painted, and the faces are rendered with broad strokes. Some repainting by the artist is to be noticed in the left hand of Christ. The index-finger, now separate, was originally close to the other fingers; the edges of the finger-nail may still be traced in the old position.


Johannes Vermeer - Allegory of the faith


2
Johannes Vermeer
Allegory of the faith
c. 1670-72
Johannes Vermeer
Allegory of the New Testament
45 inches by 35 inches
Canvas
A. Bredius; exhibited on loan since 1899 in the Royal Picture Gallery, The Hague

A woman in a blue and white dress sits on a dais, which is covered with a carpet, near a table. Her left foot rests on a globe; she lays her right hand on her breast and leans with the left on a corner of the table. She gazes upward with a devout look. On the table, which is covered with a carpet, are a cloth and an open Bible; near it are a cup and a crucifix, relieved against a strip of gilt leather on the wall. Behind the woman is a large picture of Christ crucified, with Mary and John, the original of which, by Jordaens, is now in the Ecole Teirinck, at Antwerp. On the white and dark tiles in front of the woman lies the apple of Paradise. Farther forward a serpent coils itself; it has been wounded by a large block of veined stone and is bleeding. In the left foreground hangs a large Gobelins tapestry, on which the figures of a horseman and of a man on foot may be distinguished. The tapestry partly covers a chair, on which is a blue cushion. An unseen window at the back is reflected in a glass ball which hangs by a blue ribbon from a cross-beam in the ceiling. A strong light falls from the left foreground on the woman. The Gobelins tapestry is painted in a spotty manner; the rest of the picture is fairly smooth in style. The model may have been the woman represented in the Amsterdam picture (32).


Johannes Vermeer - Diana and Her Companions


3
Johannes Vermeer
Diana and Her Companions
c. 1653-54
Johannes Vermeer
Diana at Her Toilet
39 inches by 42 inches
Canvas
Signed on the stone block, "J. v. Meer," with the "v" and "M" joined; but the signature is so faint that it is not absolutely certain what the letters are. An attempt has been made to alter the signature to that of N. Maes.
Royal Picture Gallery, The Hague

The goddess sits in the centre, facing right, on a stone bench; a maid-servant bathes her feet. Diana wears a brown garment, leaving her breast, arms, and feet bare. The maid-servant, whose figure is cut ofF by the frame, wears a purple skirt and a brown bodice. Beside the goddess to the right sits one of her nymphs,
wearing a red jacket and a blue skirt, who is also washing her feet. Behind her a fourth woman in a dark dress stands looking on. To the left is another nymph, with face averted; her naked back and the golden yellow cloth which she has thrown round her form are strongly illumined. In the left corner of the foreground is a spotted dog. In the centre foreground are a small wash-basin and a towel. Behind the group are sombre bushes.

The attribution of the picture to Johannes Vermeer of Delft has become more plausible since the discovery of the "Christ in the House of Mary and Martha" (1), but it is not quite fully established. The Italian influence is not shown to such an extent in any other picture. Even the painter's characteristic method of setting his figures against a light and not a dark ground is not here pursued, for the figures sink into the background. The best-preserved portion of the picture is that in which the three strong colours, yellow, red, and blue, are combined. For the rest, it has suffered much from over-cleaning ; the streaks of blue running through the yellow are disturbing. In the 1895 catalogue of The Hague the picture was still assigned to Vermeer of Utrecht; in the last edition it was ascribed to Vermeer of Delft, of whose authorship Bredius is more firmly convinced than is H. de Groot.


Johannes Vermeer - The Geographer


5
Johannes Vermeer
The Geographer
1669
Johannes Vermeer
The Astronomer
21 inches by 18 1/2 inches
Canvas
Signed on the upper right-hand panel of the cupboard door "J. Meer" (with the J and M joined). On the right-hand upper corner of the wall are another signature and date, which are not genuine.
Städel'sches Kunstinstitut, Frankfort-on-Main

A young scholar, dressed in a bluish-grey dressing-gown, the turned-up edges of which show an orange lining, stands bending over a table upon which he leans with his left hand. On the table a map of the stars is spread out beside a carpet carelessly rolled up. The scholar holds a pair of compasses in his right hand; glancing up from his work he looks to the left. His insignificant features, framed in dull fair curls, are touched by the light of a grey day, which enters from a window to the left and illumines to a moderate degree the rest of the apartment. The leading of the window is the same as in the Rothschild picture (6). In the background to the left is a cupboard, on the top of which are a celestial globe and some books; to the right is an arm-chair, above which a map hangs on the grey lime-washed wall. At the edge of the right foreground is a footstool.

Compare the similar picture in the Rothschild collection, which was probably dated 1673; this must have been painted about the same time.


Johannes Vermeer - The Astronomer


6
Johannes Vermeer
The Astronomer
1668
Johannes Vermeer
The Astronomer
20 inches by 18 inches
Canvas
Collection of the late Baron Alphonse de Rothschild, Paris

An astronomer in a blue costume, seen at full length, sits at a table to the right. With his right hand he turns a celestial globe; he leans with his left hand on the corner of the table. Before him lies an open book. The table-cloth, which has a large pattern, is pushed back from the front. The astronomer's profile, the table, and the globe are brightlv illumined by the light from a window to the left. A coat-of-arms, only part of which is visible, is inserted in this window. At the back is a cupboard on which are books. To the right, behind the astronomer, is a picture, cut off by the frame; it probably represents "The finding of Moses"; the back of a nude woman and two other female figures may be discerned in it. The same picture hangs in the interior represented in the Beit picture, "The Love-Letter" (35), and is there more plainly seen.

This work is very similar to "The Astronomer" at Frankfort (5). It seems to have been slightly cut down on the right, since in the Lebrun engraving more can be seen of the picture on the wall and of the chair.


Johannes Vermeer - The Art of Painting


8
Johannes Vermeer
The Art of Painting
c. 1666/68
Johannes Vermeer
The Artist at Work
52 inches by 44 inches
Canvas
Signed on an inset forming part of the larger map, on a level with the girl's shoulder, "J. Ver-Meer"
Collection of Count Czernin von Chudenitz, Vienna

In the right foreground the artist sits, with his back to the spectator, on a stool in front of his easel. He has a mahlstick in one hand, a brush in the other. He is painting a comely girl, who stands farther back to the left. The outlines of the half-length figure are sketched in with chalk on the canvas ; the master has begun to paint the garland which adorns the model's head. He wears a skull-cap, a black costume slashed with white at the back, and a broad sash round his hips; he has red stockings and black shoes. The girl is dressed in blue; under her left arm she holds a book bound in yellow calf, and she has a trumpet in her right hand. The green of her garland has turned to blue; in the picture on the easel the leaves are represented as more blue than they really are. The girl's figure is partly hidden by a large table to the left, on which are a carpet, a plaster mask, a sketch-book, and other volumes. In front of the table is a chair; there is another chair to the right behind the easel. The left upper corner of the picture is filled with a richly worked Gobelins tapestry. The floor is paved with greyish-white tiles. A chandelier hangs from the timbered roof. On the wall is a map of the Seven Provinces. The textures are finely rendered in this work. The prevailing colour is blue; but there are also passages of brownish red, a greenish blue, a dirty yellow, and a characteristic orange — in the handle of the brush, and here and there in the map. At the top of the map is the inscription: "Nova XVII Provinciarum . . . descriptio . . . et accurata earundem . . . edit . . . per Nicolaum Piscatorem."

After Vermeer's death the picture was in the possession of his widow, Catharina Bolnes, who gave it to her mother as security for a loan.


Johannes Vermeer - A Woman Holding a Balance


10
Johannes Vermeer
A Woman Holding a Balance
c. 1663/64
Johannes Vermeer
A Woman weighing Gold
16 1/2 inches by 14 inches
Panel
Signed in full
Lapeyriêre collection

In an interior a woman, wearing a dark blue velvet jacket trimmed with fur, stands weighing gold at a table with a blue cover. On the table is a box of pearls and jewels, near a dark blue carpet. On the wall hangs a picture of the "Last Judgment."


Johannes Vermeer - The Lacemaker


11
Johannes Vermeer
The Lacemaker
c. 1669-70
Johannes Vermeer
The Lace-Maker
9 1/2 inches by 8 inches
Canvas
Signed in the upper right-hand corner, "J. v. Meer," the letters, " J v M," being interlaced
Louvre, Paris

A three-quarter length. A woman, slightly turned to the right, bends her head over a light blue lace pillow on a stand in front of her, and adjusts the bobbins with both hands. She wears a yellow dress with a white collar and a greenish-blue skirt. To the left, in front of her, is a table on which are a dark blue cushion, with white and red feathers protruding from it, and a book bound in pigskin. The table-cover has a dark blue ground, embroidered with a pattern of green and yellow leaves. Apart from its brilliant execution, the picture is interesting for its subject, especially for the work-stand used by the lace-maker. The background is light.


Johannes Vermeer - A Maid Asleep


16
Johannes Vermeer
A Maid Asleep
c. 1656/57
Johannes Vermeer
A Girl Asleep
34 inches by 29 1/2 inches
Canvas
Signed to the left above the girl's head, "J. V. Meer" (the V and M intertwined)
Duveen Brothers, London

A girl sits facing the spectator behind a table to the left. She leans her head on her right hand; her left hand rests on the table. She wears a small black cap, and a brown dress with white ribbons on the shoulders. The table is covered with a Turkey carpet; on it are a blue dish with fruit, a napkin, a white jug, and a knife. In the corner of the right foreground is the back of a chair. In the left upper part of the wall at the back is the right-hand bottom corner of a picture of Cupid standing, with a mask lying on the ground; the whole picture, without the mask, is given in the National Gallery picture (23) and in that belonging to H.C. Frick (27). On the right a sliding door, half open, leads to another room, in which is a table with a small picture on the wall above it.


Johannes Vermeer - The Kitchen Maid


17
Johannes Vermeer
The Kitchen Maid
c. 1658/60
Johannes Vermeer
A Maid-Servant Pouring out Milk
18 inches by 16 1/2 inches
Canvas
Signed "J. V. Meer " (the J and M intertwined)
Collection J. Six, Amsterdam

A maid-servant, seen almost at full length, stands in the centre, turning slightly to the left. She holds a jug in both hands, and pours out milk into a mug which stands on a table with a green cover, filling the left foreground. Near the mug are a bread-basket, some pieces of bread, and a beer-jug. Above the table to the left is a window, the light from which falls on the girl. She wears a jacket and skirt and a white cap. On the wall behind her to the left are a basket and a brass pail. On the ground to the right is a foot-warmer.


Johannes Vermeer - Young Woman with a Water Pitcher


19
Johannes Vermeer
Young Woman with a Water Pitcher
c. 1662
Johannes Vermeer
A Young Woman with a Water-Jug (or, A Young Woman opening a Casement)
17 1/2 inches by 15 1/2 inches
Canvas
Metropolitan Museum, New York

A young woman, seen at three-quarter length, stands by a window in the left-hand corner of a room, facing the spectator. With her right hand she is opening the window of leaded glass; with her left hand she is about to lift a brass water-jug standing in a salver on the table, as if to water flowers outside the window. The young woman is looking down at the window-ledge. She wears a buff bodice, with short slashed sleeves and a dark blue skirt, a very broad and fine white collar, and a large white cap. The table to the right is covered with a rich oriental carpet, having, on a dark red ground, a pattern of blue, green, white, yellow, and brown, with an olive-blue border. On the table, to the right of the jug and salver, is a jewel-case covered with yellow leather and fitted with a steel lock and corner-pieces. At the back of the table is the top of a chair upholstered in dark brown leather with gilt lions' heads on the top corners ; the lion's head to the left is visible, but that to the right is hidden by a light blue drapery thrown over the back of the chair. The wall at the back is in a cool yellow and olive-grey tone; to the right of the woman's head hangs a large map, cut off at the top and to the right by the frame of the picture.


Johannes Vermeer - Girl with a Pearl Necklace


20
Johannes Vermeer
Girl with a Pearl Necklace
c. 1663-64
Johannes Vermeer
A Young Lady with a Pearl Necklace
22 inches by 18 inches
Canvas
Signed on the table, "J. Meer" (the J and M intertwined)
Kaiser Friedrich Museum, Berlin

A young lady stands on the right at a table. She faces to the left, towards a mirror on the left-hand wall, and is occupied in fastening a pearl necklace round her neck. She wears a grey silk skirt and a yellow jacket trimmed with ermine. On the table are a dark blue cloth, a blue Japanese vase, and some articles of the toilet. In the right foreground is a tall chair. Behind the mirror to the left is a high window, admitting the full daylight, with a yellow curtain. The cool light wall of the room, filling nearly half the picture, forms the background. The picture recalls the Van der Hoop picture at Amsterdam (31) and the picture at the London National Gallery (23). It belongs to the artist's later period.


Johannes Vermeer - Girl with a Flute


22d
Johannes Vermeer
Girl with a Flute
c. 1665-70
Johannes Vermeer
A Young Girl with a Flute
8 inches by 7 inches
Oak panel
Exhibited on loan in the Royal Picture Gallery, The Hague

Behind a table, only a narrow strip of which is seen parallel to the lower edge of the picture, a young girl sits facing the spectator. She sits on the chair with the lions' heads on the back, introduced in other pictures, such as 19, by Vermeer; part of a lion's head may be seen to the left, behind the girl's arm. The girl wears a greyish-blue jacket with white fur trimming on the sleeves and down the front; a white drapery, like a collar, is attached to the jacket. On her head she wears a hat in the shape of a flat-topped pyramid, with vertical stripes of varying width in brown, yellowish grey, and white. Her left arm rests on the edge of the table, and the hand holds a yellow flute; her right hand rests on the table, but the fingers are partly cut off by the frame. The girl's eyes are fixed on the spectator, and her lips are slightly parted. She wears earrings and a slender necklace. The light comes from above to the right, so that her forehead and the left side of her face are in greenish shadow. The background is filled with a Gobelins tapestry of a large pattern in shades of brown ochre, greenish grey, and dark blue — such as often occurs in this master's pictures. The painting is rather spotty. The picture seems to have been cut down at the edges.


Johannes Vermeer - Young Woman Standing at a Virginal


23
Johannes Vermeer
Young Woman Standing at a Virginal
c. 1670-72
Johannes Vermeer
A Young Lady at the Virginals
20 inches by 18 inches
Canvas
Signed "J. v. Meer" (the J and M intertwined)
National Gallery, London

A young lady stands in the centre at a pair of virginals; she is seen at full length, almost in profile, but turns her head to the spectator. Her hands are on the keys of the virginals beside her to the right. She wears a white silk dress and a blue silk bodice. In the right foreground is a chair covered with blue velvet, partly hidden by the frame. On the whitewashed wall, with a lower border of Delft tiles, hangs a large picture of a nude Cupid standing with a bow in his right hand and a letter held up in his left. The same picture is given in 16 and 27. To the left of this hangs a small landscape. A landscape is painted on the lid of the instrument. To the left is a window lighting the scene. The floor is paved with black and white tiles.


Johannes Vermeer - Young Woman Seated at a Virginal


24
Johannes Vermeer
Young Woman Seated at a Virginal
c. 1670-72
Johannes Vermeer
A Girl at the Spinet
9 1/2 inches by 7 1/2 inches
Canvas
Collection of the late Alfred Beit, London

A girl, seen at three-quarter length, sits in profile to the left at a spinet. She turns her head to the spectator; her hands are on the keys. Before her is a music-book; only the front of the instrument is visible. Behind the girl is a bare white-washed wall.


Johannes Vermeer - Young Woman Seated at a Virginal


25
Johannes Vermeer
Young Woman Seated at a Virginal
c. 1670-72
Johannes Vermeer
A Young Lady Seated at the Spinet
20 inches by 17 1/2 inches
Canvas
Signed on the wall to the right of the girl's head "J. v. Meer " (the J and M intertwined)
Collection of George Salting, London

On the right, a young lady in blue, whose whole figure is shown, sits in profile to the left at a spinet. She turns her head to the spectator; her hands are on the keys. On the inside of the lid, which is thrown back, is painted a landscape. On the wall hangs a picture which is cut ofF by the frame. This picture represents a woman playing the mandoline, who is embraced by an old man, while a youth appears to show her a coin. The same picture is given in "The Concert" (29). In the left foreground is a violoncello, cut off by the frame; above it hangs a Gobelins tapestry. The floor is paved with black and white tiles; the lower part of the wall is covered with Delft tiles. [Compare 23.]


Johannes Vermeer - The Guitar Player


26
Johannes Vermeer
The Guitar Player
c. 1670-72
Johannes Vermeer
A Lady Playing the Guitar
19 1/2 inches by 16 1/2 inches
Canvas
Signed in full
Collection of John G. Johnson, Philadelphia

A young lady with fresh red cheeks, wearing a white silk dress and a yellow jacket trimmed with ermine, sits on the left facing the spectator. Her figure is seen at three-quarter length. She looks with a smile at something above her to the left. Behind her is a table with a blue cloth, on which are several books. On the wall hangs a landscape. The scene is lighted from a window with a dark blue curtain on the right. The colours are delicately harmonised. The paint is thin. This picture belongs to about the same period as the National Gallery picture (23).


Johannes Vermeer - Young Woman Interrupted at Music


27
Johannes Vermeer
Young Woman Interrupted at Music
c. 1658-59
Johannes Vermeer
A Gentleman and a Young Lady
14 1/2 inches by 16 1/2 inches
Panel
Collection of H.C. Frick, Pittsburg

In the left-hand corner of a room sits a comely girl in a red jacket, white cap, and blue skirt, holding a sheet of paper, apparently music. She is in profile to the right, but turns her head to the spectator. A man in a light bluish-grey cloak, without a hat, steps towards her, lays his left hand on a chair and grasps the sheet of paper with his right
On the table are a mandoline, a music-book, a blue China jug, and a glass of wine. In ftont of the table is a chair with a dark blue cushion; behind the table is another chair. To the left is a window which is much foreshortened. Near it a bird-cage has been painted in by a later hand. On the back wall hangs a picture, almost square in shape, representing the
Cupid standing, which appears also in the National Gallery picture (23). This picture of a Cupid became visible when the work was cleaned. Its place was formerly occupied by a violin and bow, noticed in the catalogue of the Smeth van Alphen sale of 1810. There are many blue tones; even the piece of music is printed in blue, and there are blue shadings on the
red window frame.


Johannes Vermeer - A Woman at the Virginal with a Man (The Music Lesson)


28
Johannes Vermeer
A Woman at the Virginal with a Man (The Music Lesson)
c. 1662-64
Johannes Vermeer
A Lady at the Virginals and a Gentleman
29 inches by 25 inches
Canvas
Royal Collection, Windsor Castle

In a room paved with black and white tiles, a lady stands with her back to the spectator at an open pair of virginals against the back wall. She wears a red dress with a short black skirt over it and a white bodice. Her face is reflected in a mirror hanging above the instrument. Near her stands a gentleman in black with a white sash. In the right foreground is a table covered with a Turkey carpet, on which is a white earthenware mug; near the table is a chair upholstered in blue, and a violoncello lies on the floor. On the left are two leaded windows, admitting the daylight. On the back wall to the right a portion of a picture is visible.


Johannes Vermeer - The Concert


29
Johannes Vermeer
The Concert
c. 1663-66
Johannes Vermeer
The Concert
28 inches by 25 inches
Canvas
Collection of Mrs. Gardner, Boston, U.S.A.

In a large room lighted from the left a cavalier wearing a bandolier and sword, with his back to the spectator, sits in front of a harpsichord. On his left, a young girl in a silk gown, with her face to the right, is playing the instrument. Another young girl in a fur-trimmed jacket stands to the man's right, facing the spectator, but turning slightly to the left; she is singing and beating time with her right hand. The lid of the instrument, which is turned up, is adorned with a painted landscape. Above it, on the wall to the left, hangs a picture representing a landscape. To the right hangs a genre-piece, in which a man embraces a woman who plays a lute, while a young man appears to offer her something; the same picture is introduced in Mr. Salting's "Young Lady seated at the Spinet" (25). In the left foreground is the corner of a heavy table, covered with a Turkey carpet, on which are a guitar and music-books. On the floor to the right of it is a violoncello. The floor is paved with black and white tiles. The execution resembles that of the picture at Windsor (28).