This volume--the new standard Vermeer monograph, now in paperback--reproduces in color all 34 of Vermeer's extant paintings, augmenting each with close-ups that lay bare the loving care that the artist lavished upon each painstaking work.
Considered purely in terms of his subject matter--women reading letters, artist’s studios, servants at work--Vermeer conformed entirely to the Renaissance genre repertoire of Dutch Golden Age painting. What he brought to these genres was a realism so powerful that it captured the subtlest effects of light, opened up thrilling psychological tensions and disclosed incredible serenities of indoor reverie. Vermeer is also surely one of the most sexual painters of all time, with the sly expressions of his subjects and their whispered intimacies, and his focal points of almost excruciating tenderness and precision--an earring, a wineglass, a pin. Of Vermeer himself almost nothing is known, and his oeuvre, or what survives of it, is one of the most condensed in the canon: just 34 works, every one of them a masterpiece.