Today in History: Vermeer’s birthday

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Margriet Van Vrijhond, my great-great-great-great-grandmother

October 31, 1632: the birth of Vermeer

Johannes (or Johann, or Jan) Vermeer was a Dutch painter who specialized in domestic interior scenes of middle-class life. Vermeer worked slowly and with great care, using bright colours and sometimes expensive pigments, with a preference for lapis lazuli and Indian yellow. He is particularly renowned for his masterly treatment and use of light in his work.

He was only a moderately successful provincial genre painter in his lifetime. Over time, Vermeer’s reputation has grown, and he is now acknowledged as one of the greatest painters of the Dutch Golden Age.

Little known fact: Vermeer once painted a portrait of my great-great-great-great-grandmother, Margriet Van Vrijhond.

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