on 4 February 2004
Well, if two points determine a line then Mike Venezia is making an effort to include more works by the artists he is writing about this year for his Getting to Know the World's Greatest Artists series. This volume on Johannes Vermeer includes sixteen works by the artist, who only produced about 40 paintings in his life, along with almost a dozen other works by his contemporaries. Apparently there is less known about the life of Vermeer than any other artist in this series, so this particular volume is precluded from providing a decent biography. This works out fine because Venezia makes more of an effort to explain how Vermeer's paintings work and I always like it when the books in this series can provide some substantive "art appreciation" lessons along with the cartoons. It is interesting that Vermeer's works were mistaken for those of Rembrandt and Pieter de Hooch because when you compare their paintings it is clear Vermeer's work is unqiuely different. In fact, given the senese of quiet and stillness he creates in his works, you may well end up thinking that Vermeer was the best of the bunch from the Golden Age of Art that reigned in Holland during the 17th century. Rembrandt is a great first name (or last name for that matter), but I sure am surprised to discover I think Vermeer was a better painter.