An innovative reading of the influence of Catholicism on the great Dutch master of light and intimacy
Little is known about the personality of Johannes Vermeer (1632-75), one of the most famous Dutch painters of the 17th century. We do know, however, that he married a Catholic woman named Catharina Bolnes, whose family was closely associated with the Jesuit community in Delft. In this book, Gregor J.M. Weber shows that Vermeer himself actually pursued a Catholic way of life. The relationship between the artistic ambitions of the young Vermeer and his Catholic surroundings is also discussed. Vermeer's unique treatment of light, perception and perspective is examined and linked to the Jesuits' special interest in the camera obscura, the instrument of light and vision par excellence. With his research, Weber places Vermeer's person and art in a new context, which until now has only been touched on in passing.
Gregor J.M. Weber (born 1956) is head of the Department of Fine Arts at the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, Netherlands, and the author of 1600-1700: Dutch Golden Age, among other books.