Johannes Vermeer is a Dutch painter of the Dutch genre painting movement.He gained a reputation as an innovative artist in his time, mainly confined to the limits of his Provincial territory, and enjoyed the protection of wealthy patrons.
His work is limited in scope, estimated at a maximum of forty-five paintings in twenty years. His international fame only came in the second half of the 19th century, when the French art critic and journalist Théophile Thoré-Burger devoted a series of articles to him, published in 1866 in the Gazette des beaux-arts. From then on, his reputation was supported by the tributes paid to him by painters, particularly Impressionists, and writers such as Marcel Proust, and it continued to grow. His paintings were the object of a veritable hunt, made even more intense by their rarity, and attracting the covetousness of forgers. Of the thirty-four that are currently attributed to him with certainty, The Girl with the Pearl and The Milkmaid are now among the most famous works in the history of painting. Vermeer ranks with Rembrandt and Frans Hals among the masters of the Dutch Golden Age.
The artist is best known for his genre scenes, which are painted in a style that combines mystery and familiarity, and which have a coherence that makes them immediately recognisable, based particularly on inimitable colour combinations, a great mastery of the treatment of light and space, and the combination of limited elements that recur from one painting to the next.