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Academic Insights for the Thinking World

The mysterious painting methods of Vermeer

Johannes Vermeer’s luminous paintings are loved and admired around the world, yet it is not fully understood exactly what painting methods he used. Experts over the years have been confounded as to how he captured light in such a way as to create a sense of a moment in time captured on canvas. Why is there an absence of any preliminary drawing; why are there shifts in focus, why did he appear to use large amounts of expensive pigments? The image below discusses seven of his masterpieces, and reveals the few traces Vermeer has left behind in an intriguing detective story.

Featured image credit: The Girl with a Pearl Earring by Johannes Vermeer (1632–1675). Public domain via Wikimedia Commons.

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