Vermeer and Painting in Delft by Alex Ruger
4to. pp. 72. map & colour illustrations. paperback wrs. (fine condition). London: National Gallery, .
Distributed by Yale University Press. Published in conjunction with an exhibition.
ISBN-10: 0300091893 / ISBN-13: 9780300091892
During the first seventy years of the seventeenth century the Dutch town of Delft emerged as one of the most important artistic centers in the Netherlands. Although famous as the birthplace of the painter Johannes Vermeer, Delft was also home to an extended community of masters that included among many others Pieter de Hooch and Carel Fabritius. In this accessible introduction to the key Delft artists, Axel Rüger places Vermeer's masterpieces within their historical and artistic context. This book, accompanying a major loan exhibition at the National Gallery, London, reveals how artistic and cultural developments of the early seventeenth century paved the way for the flowering of art in the city, culminating in the master works of the 1650s and 1660s. Investigating the artistic production of the city genre by genre, the author builds a picture of the so-called Delft School and its influences. Although painting from this time is probably best known for Vermeer's serene scenes of everyday life, his contemporaries chose many different subjects. The church interiors of Gerard Houckgeest and Emanuel de Witte, the atmospheric landscapes and townscapes of Paulus Potter and Daniel Vosmaer, and the elegant portraits of Michiel van Miereveld all represent significant aspects of Delft's rich heritage, and all are reproduced here. The artists' shared interest in the close observation of reality, and their preoccupation with light and atmospheric effects, link together the works they produced. From Vermeer's world-famous masterpieces to the less familiar works of the period, all these refined paintings reflect a powerful sensibility to the visual aspects of the world as their makers perceived it.