Jan Vermeer was born
in 1632, the second child of Reynier Janszoon Vos and Digna Baltens.
Reynier, besides his other businesses, was an art dealer and had
relations with some artists of his time. Maybe these contacts gave the
young Vermeer his first artistic inclination. Nothing is known about his
training as a painter, but in 1653 he was admitted as a master to the
Guild of St. Luke, which united painters in all genres, glass makers,
faience makers, embroiderers and art dealers; as a precondition for
being admitted was an obligatory six-year training with a master,
recognized by the Guild.
On 20 April 1653
Vermeer married Catharina Bolnes, who bore him 15 children, 4 of them
died when still very young.
painted very little for the public art market, most of his work being
produced for those patrons who particularly valued his work. This may
also account for the modest number of paintings he produced.
Vermeer also worked as an art dealer. He presumably took over the
running of his father’s inn, the “Mechelen”, once his father died.
Vermeer’s later years were overshadowed by a dramatic deterioration of
his personal financial position. He got into debt. In 1672 war between
France and the Netherlands started.
Vermeer was buried on
15 December 1675 in the family grave at the Oude Kerk, Delft.
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