Art · Non-Fiction

Vermeer by Maurizia Tazartes

What is it about?

Part of the Masters of Art series, Vermeer  looks at the 17th century Dutch artist Johannes Vermeer of Delft, famous for works such as The Milkmaid (pictured above) and Girl with the Pearl EarringThis book is a sort of beginner’s guide to the work of Vermeer, and is divided into three sections; ‘Life‘, ‘Works‘ and ‘The Artist and The Man‘. The first section gives a brief overview of Vermeer’s life and times, as well as his 11-child family. The second section features pictures of his paintings accompanied by analysis/commentary by the author, with some images being zoomed in on and minute details reproduced to the size of a page. The third and final section seems to be a more in-depth version of the first, but also includes how his works were rediscovered and came to be revered.

Is it any good?

I think that you have to be  interested in either a) art, b) Delft or c) 17th century history in order to enjoy this book. Alternatively, you could have(like me) just read Girl with the Pearl Earring by Tracy Chevalier and it has left you hungry for more. Either way, you’ve got to have dedication to get through what is, in fact, an art history book. I’m not going to lie and say it was the most riveting read I’ve ever experience, but it did exactly what it said on the tin; I now feel like I know substantially more about Johannes Vermeer than I did before. The best – and biggest – of the book, for me, was the section that analysed his paintings. Whilst it was a little bit boring to hear about all the hands the painting had passed through, the actual analysis of the meaning and technique of each painting was fascinating. Furthermore, the book reproduces the paintings beautifully and immense detail – it is worth the money for that alone.

Rating: 7/10

How long did it take to read: four (very busy) days

For fans of: Girl with the Pearl Earring, art, Holland, 17th century history, real-life mystery, the captions under paintings in art galleries

This book tastes like: chunky vegetable soup with warm crusty bread


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