Hey Kids, Meet Jan Vermeer
from the Hey Kid's, Meet the Artist! Index


Jan Vermeer (1632-1675) Dutch Baroque Artist

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Jan Vermeer was born in the Netherlands in the city of Delft, and baptized on October 31, 1632. His father, Reijnier Janszoon, was a textile worker and later an art dealer. Jan became interested in art through his early contact with artists. When his father died in 1652, Vermeer took his place as an art dealer.

Raised a protestant, Johannes Reijniersz Vermeer married a Catholic girl named Catherina Bolenes on April 5, 1653. Together they gave birth to 14 children, 10 of which survived. Vermeer probably never became Catholic, though his painting, The Allegory of Catholic Faith, reflects a belief in the Lord's Supper. The work may have been created for an art collector or church.

Vermeer painted View of the Delft between 1659 and 1660. The painting of the city in which he was born is a simplified view of the township. The work Vermeer created highlights its main characteristics of the township with selected buildings being reflected in the water with magnificent cloud formations overhead.

The Girl with a Pearl Earring, painted in 1665, is recognized as Vermeer's greatest acheivement. This masterpiece is sometimes referred to as "The Dutch Mona Lisa". Little is known about this work. Who was the sitter? Why was it almost forgotten about until its rediscovery in 1881? Why did it once sell for the price of a reproduction? The mystery is as beautiful as the painting itself.

Vermeer also enjoyed painting beautiful indoor scenes of everyday people. He worked on his paintings with great care. He used bright colors, and seemed to prefer painting with cornflower blue and yellow. He is especially remembered for his masterful painting of light. The Lacemaker (1669-1670), which hangs in the Louvre in Paris, France is an excellent example of his abilities.

For 200 years Jan Vermeer was all but forgotten. Since the rediscovery of his work, Vermeer's reputation has grown. He is now recognized as one of the finest painters of the Dutch Golden Age.

Jan Vermeer Lesson Resources

Jan Vermeer | Word Search Worksheet
"Meet the Artist" Job Application | Worksheet
The Girl with the Pearl Earring | Coloring Page
The Girl with the Pearl Earring | "Learn to Watercolor" Project

Jan Vermeer Art Gallery

 width= View of the Delft (between 1659 and 1660) by Jan Vermeer | Oil on Canvas

View of the Delft is a painting of the city of Vermeer's birth.

 width= The Girl with a Pearl Earring (1665) by Jan Vermeer | Oil on Canvas

The Girl with a Pearl Earring is sometimes referred to as "The Dutch Mona Lisa".

 width= The Lacemaker (1669-1670) by Jan Vermeer | Oil on Canvas

The Lacemaker demonstrates Vermeer's masterful ability to paint light.






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