Monday, August 20, 2012

Vermeer's Maps

World Maps in Vermeer's painting reflect the power and reach of the Dutch seaborne empire and the emergence of mapmaking as a pursuit of the superrich Dutch merchants.
With Dutch naval power rising rapidly as a major force from the late 16th century, the Netherlands dominated global commerce during the second half of the 17th century during a cultural flowering known as the Dutch Golden Age.

At the time maps were popular among prosperous citizens: they were good to look at as well as educational and useful for showing off their owners’ interest in geography and politics and even their patriotism. This trend is very eloquently demonstrated in the most accurate witnesses of everyday-life scenes of the time: the famous interior paintings of the 17th century Dutch masters, Vermeer being the most remarkable amongst them.

Johannes, Jan or Johan Vermeer (1632 – December 1675) was a Dutch painter who specialized in domestic interior scenes of middle class life. Vermeer was a moderately successful provincial genre painter in his lifetime. He seems never to have been particularly wealthy, leaving his wife and children in debt at his death, perhaps because he produced relatively few paintings.

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