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                    Essential Vermeer 3.0

                    The Complete Interactive Vermeer Catalogue

                    Diana and her Companions

                    (Diana en haar Nimfen)
                    c. 1653–1656
                    Oil on canvas
                    98.5 x 105 cm. (38 3/4 x 41 3/8 in.)
                    Mauritshuis, The Hague
                    inv. 406

                    The textual material contained in the Essential Vermeer Interactive Catalogue would fill a hefty-sized book, and is enhanced by more than 1,000 corollary images. In order to use the catalogue most advantageously:

                    1. Slowly scroll your mouse over the painting to a point of particular interest. Relative information and images will slide into the box located to the right of the painting. To hold and scroll the slide-in information, single click on area of interest. To release the slide-in information, single-click on the painting again and continue exploring.

                    2. To access Special Topics and Fact Sheet information and accessory images, single-click any list item. To release slide-in information, click on any list item and continue exploring.

                    Diana's hound

                    Diana and her Companions (detail), Johannes Vermeer

                    With the exception of a discreet crescent moon on her forehead and a hunting dog, Vermeer ignored most of the objects which were conventionally associated with the goddess Diana. Vermeer's dog, however, is scarcely comparable to the dashing hounds portrayed in Diana paintings of the time, and so it was probably intended to convey the more mundane connotation of faithfulness. This connotation would relate it to the right-hand background figure identified as Callisto who, instead, in Ovid's recount of the story had betrayed the Diana's trust and attempted to hide her pregnancy in order to avoid being cast out of the goddess' company. Vermeer included, but later painted out, a dog in the later A Maid Asleep, perhaps, originally intended as a symbol of fidelity.

                    A lone thistle

                    A simple detail such as the lone thistle illustrates how tricky it has been for scholars to interpret the symbolic content of a 17th-century painting.

                    Walter Liedtke suggested that the thistle symbolizes self-denial and the hard but noble path of life citing a detail of Frans Hals' famous Married Couple in the Garden, in which an exceptionally large thistle occupies the lower right-hand corner of the composition. Supporting evidence is provided by the title print of Jacob Cats' Houwelyck (Marriage) of 1652 which reads, "The couple in the engraving accompanied by faithful hounds, have taken the narrow and prickly path once chosen by Hercules at the Crossroads of Virtue and Vice." On the other hand, for John Michael Montias, the thistle plant indicates the male element alluding in Vermeer's work to the impending presence of Actaeon, the protagonist of the story. "The idea of hinting at the nearby presence of a protagonist will often recur in Vermeer's mature art. In this particular case, the formal absence of Actaeon from the scene contributes to the mysterious aura of the painting, in contrast to the earlier tradition of representing Actaeon spying on the goddess and her nymphs or happening upon them." Differently, Arthur K. Wheelock Jr. points out that the thistle is a traditional symbol of earthly sorrow and tribulation which is of Christian, rather than mythological origins. God condemned Adam for his disobedience: "Cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow thou shall eat it for all the days of thy life; thorns and thistles shall bring it forth to thee." (Genesis 3:17-18). Consequentially, "Vermeer may have included this plant as a symbolic element precisely because he wanted to fuse mythological and Christian traditions."

                    The thistle also symbolized labor, which, in Calvinist ethics, had already gained considerable currency in the Netherlands. It was also an ancient Celtic symbol of nobility of character as well as of birth.

                    Brass water basin

                    Diana and her Companions (detail), Johannes Vermeer

                    The brass water basin contains water and a cloth with which one of the nymphs washes Diana's feet after the day's hunt. The basin had Christian overtones of the cleansing of the soul although it was also associated with death. It is, perhaps, the only detail in the painting which shows an interest in rendering texture, which at the time was a virtual obsession among Dutch painters.

                    Missing sky

                    Diana and her Companions, Johannes Vermeer

                    The 1999–2000 restoration of the present work revealed important alterations which have occurred over time and have modified Vermeer's original pictorial concept. It was discovered that the conventional blue sky, well known through reproductions, is not original, but 19th-century (see$$$$$)2018救济金6元棋牌. Experts had no difficulty in determining that the passage was not by Vermeer's hand because it contained two pigments that were unavailable when Vermeer was active; Prussian blue, invented in 1704, and chrome green, invented about 1840. However, the task of restoring the false sky presented an extra challenge because the blue paint could not be removed without damaging the underlying paint layer. The restoration team decided that the best approach was to overpaint the whole sky with a dark neutral tone which would match the color and type of paint found in the modeling of the trees, which they considered integral.

                    It was also discovered that canvas has been also been trimmed along the left-hand side after it left the artist's studio. The kneeling figure to the right once fit almost entirely within the composition.

                    A classical theme

                    Constelaasion of the Great Bear

                    Based on Ovid's description in the Metamorphoses (Book II, 401–503), this figure, with downcast eyes, has been identified as Callisto, who feared that her pregnancy would be discovered by the virgin goddess Diana. After she was discovered, Callisto was banished and transformed into a bear. The great shaggy creature wandered through the forest confused and frightened. One day she came across her son, Arcas. Overjoyed, Callisto sprang forward to embrace him. The boy did not know she was his mother and raised his hunting spear to strike. Zeus, looking down from the heavens, was moved by pity and before the youth could do any harm snatched them both up and transformed them into stars. Callisto became known as the Great Bear, or Ursa Major, and her son as Little Bear, or Ursa Minor. Callisto's buttoned-up 16th-century dress distinguishes her from the other nymphs who are clad in with the looser attire, more in keeping with the history painting mode.

                    An unusual Diana

                    Diana and her Companions (detail), Johannes Vermeer

                    Vermeer's portrayal of Diana is highly unusual for the time. The figure of Diana, the virgin goddess of hunting who personifies chastity, can only be identified by a small crescent moon on her forehead. She sports neither bow and arrow nor dead game to signal her formidable ability as a huntress. Vermeer has presented both Diana and her entourage clothed rather than nude, as they conventionally appeared in paintings of this theme. Diana stands absorbed in meditative calm without a trace of her feared temper.

                    2018救济金6元棋牌According to the art historian Celeste Brusati, the young Vermeer may have intended to put himself and his viewers into Actaeon's place as illicit beholders. Lest we fail to note that substitution, Vermeer has included subtle reminders of Actaeon's tragic fate in the form of the dog gazing at a thistle, a traditional symbol of transience.

                    Like that of the great Amsterdam master Rembrandt, Vermeer's treatment of the female figure is full of tenderness and sympathy, traits that would become a hallmark of Vermeer's art. The cut of the satin garment seems to suggest contemporary fashion and its color may even anticipate Vermeer's life-long fascination with the yellow, which he later repeated when painting the voguish, fur-trimmed morning jackets typical of his interior scenes. Art critics hold that the sweeping brushwork of the gown of Diana is reminiscent of Venetian Renaissance painting, although its clumsy handling clearly suggests the young painter's less than expert command of the brush. Nonetheless, a certain broadness of modeling and brushwork would always distinguish Vermeer from the fijnschilder (fine painters), whose themes, compositions and techniques would later influence the painter. Even though Vermeer's mature paintings are far more descriptive and detailed than the present Diana, he never attempted to compete with the truly microscopic attention to detail that characterized that school.

                    Diana in painting

                    Diana and Actaeon, Titian

                    Diana and Actaeon
                    Oil on canvas, 185 x 202 cm.
                    2018救济金6元棋牌 National Gallery of Scotland, Edinburgh

                    Vermeer chose to cast his only surviving mythological painting in a pseudo-antique atmosphere by elongating Diana's dress and wrapping the back of the turned figure with a piece of anonymous orange drapery. It was a common practice for history painters to draw on costumes painted in the past. The painter and art writer Karel van Mander recommended the prints of Lucas van Leyden as an excellent resource for historic costumes. Dutch costume expert Marieke van Winkel observes that, "In these, as with all his other prints, one sees pleasant variations of faces and costumes after the old styles: hats, caps and headdresses which for the most part, differ one from another, so that in Italy the great masters of our own time have been able to profit greatly from his works in that they have borrowed from them and applied things in their own works, with occasional small variations."

                    In 1670, Willem Goeree advised artists to make themselves familiar with old costumes and to acquire knowledge of "antique" clothes and ornaments such as turbans, caps, bonnets and arms. The great Rembrandt was known to have kept a sizable collection of exotic clothes and accessories for his history paintings.

                    Diana's nymphs

                    Diana and Her Nymphs, Jacob van Loo

                    Diana and Her Nymphs
                    Jacob van Loo
                    Oil on canvas, 47 x 37 cm.
                    Private collection

                    Of the four Nymphs, only Callisto in the upper right can be identified by name. It is curious that Vermeer chose to portray three of them fully clad since painters had enthusiastically exploited the theme to explore for its potentially erotic content.

                    It is hard to dismiss the feeling that the young Vermeer was not entirely comfortable with nudity and had we not known that the upper left-hand figure with the back to the viewer was a nymph, it would have been difficult to determine her sex.

                    2018救济金6元棋牌Vermeer chose to cast his only mythological painting in a pseudo-antique light by elongating Diana's dress and by wrapping the back of the turned figure with a piece of anonymous orange drapery.

                    Titian's Diana and Callisto, probably the most noted interpretation of the theme, could not have been directly seen by the young artist but prints of it circulated throughout Europe.

                    2018救济金6元棋牌It was not uncommon to drawn on costumes painted in the past. Painter and art writer Karel van Mander recommended the prints of Lucas van Leyden as an excellent resource for historic costumes. Dutch costume expert Marieke van Winkel observes that, "In these, as with all his other prints, one sees pleasant variations of faces and costumes after the old styles: hats, caps and headdresses which for the most part, differ one from another, so that in Italy the great masters of our own time have been able to profit greatly from his works in that they have borrowed from them and applied things in their own works, with occasional small variations."

                    In 1670, Willem Goeree advised artists to make themselves familiar with old costumes and habits and to acquire knowledge of "antique" clothes and ornaments such as turbans, caps, bonnets and arms. In particular, the great Rembrandt went to great lengths to attain authenticity of historical detail and is known to have kept an extraordinary collection of exotic clothes and accessories.


                    Diana with her Nymphs, Jacob van Loo

                    Diana with her Nymphs (detail)
                    Jacob van Loo
                    Oil on canvas, 136.8 x 170.6 cm.
                    2018救济金6元棋牌 Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, Gemäldegalerie

                    The pose of the kneeling nymph strongly recalls a figure in the composition of the same theme by Jacob van Loo (see$$$$$). By the middle of the 17th century, Van Loo had made a name for himself in Amsterdam and elsewhere. In 1649, Constantijn Huygens, the legendary art connoisseur and secretary to the stadtholder Frederick Hendrik, added Van Loo's name to a list of artists under consideration to decorate the prestigious newly constructed Huis ten Bosch palace near The Hague. Van Loo's artistic standing is further demonstrated by his mention alongside Rembrandt and Govert Flinck in a poem written by Jan Vos in 1654.

                    Vermeer lived a forty-minute walk from The Hague, and was no doubt familiar with the classical style painting in vogue with the noble court which resided there.

                    Youthful imcompetance?

                    Wooded Landscape, Van Geel

                    Wooded Landscape Jacob Jacobsz van Geel
                    c. 1633
                    Oil on panel, 49 x 73.9 cm.
                    Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam

                    The crudity of the background foliage does nothing to dispel the suspicion of youthful incompetence, unless the young Vermeer had somehow drew inspiration from the minor landscape painter Jacob van Geel. Van Geel was eclipsed by the renowned landscape painters Adam Pynaker, Egbert van der Poel and Paulus Potter, who were all working in Delft at one time or another. The idiosyncratic Van Geel painted eerie landscapes which feature a few wanderers seemingly lost among menacing masses of trees twisted trunks. However, any comparison between Vermeer and Van Geel must be taken lightly since there is no documented contact between the two painters. Van Geel came to Delft in 1682 and stayed until 1633, only one year after Vermeer's birth.

                    The signature

                    Signiture of Johannes Vermeer on Diana and her Companions

                    2018救济金6元棋牌This signature is no longer visible after overzealous restorations, but was still reproduced in the 1859 catalogue of the Mauritshuis

                    (Click here to access a complete study of Vermeer's signatures.)


                    Albert Blankert, Vermeer: 1632–1675, 1975

                    c. 1655–1656
                    Arthur K. Wheelock Jr., Vermeer: The Complete Works, New York, 1997

                    c. 1653–1654
                    Walter Liedtke, Vermeer: The Complete Paintings2018救济金6元棋牌, New York, 2008

                    c. 1653–1654
                    Wayne Franits, Vermeer, 2015

                    (Click here to access a complete study of the dates of Vermeer's paintings).

                    Technical description

                    The support is a plain-weave linen with a thread count of 14.3 x 10 per cm². The tacking edges have been largely removed. Cusping is present on three sides, but not on the edge, which has been cut down. The support has a glue/ paste lining. An off-white ground, which includes chalk, lead white, umber, and a little charcoal black, extends from the edges of the original canvas on all sides. Over the whole painting, except possibly in the sky, extends a thin, transparent reddish brown layer, which is employed in most half-tones and shadows.

                    The composition was first outlined with dark brown brushwork, some of which is visible as pentimenti in the skirt and foot of the woman washing Diana's foot. All the shadows were first blocked in with a dark paint that is especially evident in the flesh tones of Diana and her seated companions. Smalt is present in all the pale flesh tones, mixtures containing white, and the foliage. Vermeer used the handle of the brush to scratch hairs on the dog's ear.

                    2018救济金6元棋牌The paint surface is abraded. Vertical lines of paint loss are evident to the left of center. Weave emphasis and squashed cupping has resulted from the lining process.

                    * Johannes Vermeer (exh. cat., National Gallery of Art and Royal Cabinet of Paintings Mauritshuis - Washington and The Hague, 1995, edited by Arthur K. Wheelock Jr.)

                    The painting in its frame

                    (Click here to access all of Vermeer's paintings in their frames).

                    Johannes Vermeer's Diana and her Companion in its frame


                    • [Dirksen, The Hague, before 1866; sold to Goldsmid];
                    • Neville Davison Goldsmid, The Hague (1866–1875);
                    • his widow, Eliza Garey, The Hague and Paris (1875–76;
                    • Goldsmid-sale, Paris, 4 May, 1876, no. 68 (purchased by Victor de Stuers on behalf of The Netherlands, for fl. 10,000 as by Nicolaes Maes);
                    • 1876 to Koninklijk Kabinet van Schilderijen Mauritshuis, The Hague (inv. 406).


                    • London 1929
                      Exhibition of Dutch Art, 1450–1900
                      Royal Academy of Arts
                      148, no. 313, as "Diana at her Toilet"
                    • Amsterdam 1945
                      Weerzien der meesters
                      22, no. 133
                    • Delft November–April, 1950
                      Het koninklijke kabinet 'Het Mauritshuis' in het museum 'Het Prinsenhof' te Delft
                      Stedelijk Museum 'Het Prinsenhof'
                      11, no. 26
                    • Milan April–June, 1951
                      Mostra del Caravaggio e dei Caravaggeschi
                      Palazzo Reale
                      99, no. 187 and ill. 130
                    • Zurich 1953
                      Hollander des 17. Fahrhunderts
                      72, no. 170 and ill. 27
                    • Milan February 25–April 25, 1954
                      Mostra di pittura olandese del seicento
                      Palazzo Reale
                      no. 175 and ill. no. 30, as "La toletta di Diana"
                    • Rome January 4–February 14, 1954
                      Mostra di pittura olandese del seicento
                      Palazzo delle Esposizioni
                      no. 175 and ill. no. 30, as "La toletta di Diana"
                    • New York January 4–February 14, 1954
                      Dutch Painting: The Golden Age. An Exhibition of Dutch Pictures of Seventeenth Century
                      The Metropolitan Museum of Art
                      no. 6 and ill.
                    • Toronto 1954–1955
                      Dutch Painting: The Golden Age. An Exhibition of Dutch Pictures of Seventeenth Century
                      Art Gallery of Toronto
                      plate #VI, between pages xx and xxi
                    • Toledo (OH) January 2–February 13, 1955
                      Dutch Painting: The Golden Age. An Exhibition of Dutch Pictures of Seventeenth Century
                      Toledo Museum of Art
                      plate #VI, between pages xx and xxi
                    • Oslo October 9–December 6, 1959
                      Fra Rembrandt til Vermeer
                      no. 83
                    • The Hague June 25–September 5, 1966
                      In het licht van Vermeer
                      no. 1 and ill.
                    • Paris September 24–November 28, 1966
                      Dans la lumière de Vermeer
                      Musée de l'Orangerie
                      no. 1 and ill.
                    • Tokyo October 19–December 22, 1968
                      The Age of Rembrandt, Dutch Paintings and Drawings of the 17th Century
                      National Museum of Western Art
                      no. 69 and ill.
                    • Kyoto January 12–March 2, 1968
                      The Age of Rembrandt, Dutch Paintings and Drawings of the 17th Century
                      National Museum of Western Art
                      no. 69 and ill.
                    • Washington D.C. 1980
                      Gods, Saints and Heroes: Dutch Paintings in the Age of Rembrandt
                      National Gallery of Art
                      41, 210–211, no. 54 and ill.
                    • Detroit February 16–April 19, 1980
                      Gods, Saints and Heroes: Dutch Paintings in the Age of Rembrandt
                      National Gallery of Art
                      210–211 no. 54, and ill.
                    • Amsterdam May 18–July 19, 1981
                      Gods, Saints and Heroes: Dutch Paintings in the Age of Rembrandt
                      National Gallery of Art
                      210–211, no. 54 and ill.
                    • Tokyo 1984
                      Dutch Painting of the Golden Age of Rembrandt
                      National Gallery of Art
                      108–109, no.39 and ill.
                    • Washington D.C. November 12, 1995–February 11, 1996
                      Johannes Vermeer
                      National Galley of Art
                      96–101, no. 3 and ill.
                    • The Hague 1996
                      Johannes Vermeer
                      Royal Cabinet of Paintings Mauritshuis
                      96–101, no. 3 and ill.
                    • Frankfurt February 9–April 30, 2000
                      Dutch Classicism in Seventeenth-Century Painting
                      Städelsches Kunstinstitut in Frankfurt
                    • Rotterdam September 15, 1999–January 19, 2000
                      Dutch Classicism in Seventeenth-Cetnury Painting
                      Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen
                    • New York March 8–May 27, 2001
                      Vermeer and the Delft School
                      Metropolitan Museum of Art
                      359–362, no. 64 and ill.
                    • London June 20–September, 2001
                      Vermeer and the Delft School
                      National Gallery
                      359–362, no. 64 and ill.
                    • Tokyo August 2–December 14, 2008
                      Vermeer and the Delft Style
                      Metropolitan Art Museum
                      168–170, no. 26 and ill.
                    • The Hague May 12–August 22, 2010
                      The Young Vermeer
                      26–29, no. 1 and ill.
                    • Dresden September 3–December 28, 2010
                      The Young Vermeer
                      Old Masters Picture Gallery
                      26–29, no. 1 and ill.
                    • Edinburgh December 8, 2010–February, 2011
                      The Young Vermeer
                      National Gallery of Scotland
                      26–29, no. 1 and ill.
                    • Tokyo June 30–September 17, 2012
                      Masterpieces from the Royal Picture Gallery
                      Tokyo Art Museum

                    (Click here to access a complete, sortable list of the exhibitions of Vermeer's paintings).

                    The painting in scale

                    (Click here to access all of Vermeer's paintings in scale).

                    Johannes Vermeer's Diana and her Companions in scale

                    Vermeer's early career

                    Vermeer began his career as a history painter, and not as a painter of the genre interiors for which he is renowned today. His first known works were the Christ in the House of Martha and Mary, taken from a biblical narrative, and Diana and her Companions, drawn from Greek mythology. Two other history paintings by his hand have not survived: Jupiter, Venus and Mercury and A Visit to the Tomb.

                    The Adoration of the Magi
                    Abraham Bloemaert
                    il on canvas, 193.7 x 168.8 cm.
                    2018救济金6元棋牌 Centraalmuseum, Utrecht

                    Although it is not known where or with whom Vermeer studied, it is probable that he received his training from a master well-versed in history painting. There is no evidence that he completed his apprenticeship in his native Delft. John Michael Montias believes he may have studied in Amsterdam or nearby Utrecht. The accomplished, but elderly Abraham Bloemaert (1566–1651), who lived and worked in Utrecht, was sometimes cited as a possible candidate.

                    Vermeer may have painted this work in the hopes of gaining access to the princely court of The Hague, which was a magnet for all ambitious Dutch history and portrait painters and a little more than a forty-minute walk from Delft. A few of painters in The Hague, such as Michiel Jansz. van Mierevelt, had attained enormous financial success with works tailored to suit the conservative, aristocratic vision of the court. Joachim von Sandrart wrote that Van Mierevelt painted over 10,000 portraits, although many of them were collaborative works.

                    A few years after he had terminated his apprenticeship, Vermeer unexpectedly changed artistic direction and began to paint in the stylish "modern" mode of contemporary life, which was depricated by prevailing classical art theory.

                    Vermeer & 17th-century Dutch art theory

                    Diana Resting after the Hunt with Shepherdesses and Greyhounds, Gerrit van Honthorst

                    Diana Resting after the Hunt
                    with Shepherdesses and Greyhounds,

                    Gerrit van Honthorst
                    Oil on canvas, 97 x 160 cm.
                    2018救济金6元棋牌 Private collection

                    Although scholars have pondered the choice of such an apparently unusual subject, the twenty-one-year-old Vermeer may have wished to cater to the classical tastes of the nearby Hague court where the figure of Diana was much in vogue. There, large-scale paintings of Diana had been commissioned by such successful Dutch artists as Gerrit van Honthorst, Jacob van Campen and the Delft artist Christiaen Van Couwenbergh. However, the compositonal solutions they devised were drastically different from those elaborated during the same period in Italy and France, or even in neighboring Flanders. The historical verisimilitude of settings, costumes and facial expressions, all rigidly codified in the Italian and French academies, were approached much less dogmatically in the Netherlands.

                    Why Vermeer abandoned the path of history painting soon after the first works is unknown. Perhaps, as Arthur K. Wheelock Jr. pointed out, he came to realize that although he was a talented painter of biblical and mythological scenes, his true genius lay in his ability to convey a comparable sense of dignity and purpose in images drawn from daily life. More banally, it cannot be ruled out that the support he expected as a history painter did not materialize or that his patron-to-be Pieter van Ruijven had guided the budding artist towards a more "modern" approach.

                    Vermeer & 17th-century Dutch art theory

                    Portrait of Karel van Mander

                    Portrait of Karel van Mander from his book
                    Schilder-boeck (Painter book), written in
                    Mannerist Dutch and published in Haarlem
                    in 1604 by Passchier van Wesbusch.

                    The young Vermeer must have been keenly aware of the debate about the hierarchical position of painting amongst the arts (il paragone), which had become a distinctive feature of aesthetic theory in the Italian Renaissance. In classical times, painting did not enjoy the same status of the sister art poetry, although Horace famously wrote, ut pictura poesis "as is painting, so is poetry" (Ars Poetica, 18 B.C.).

                    2018救济金6元棋牌The foremost champion of the art of painting was Leonardo da Vinci, who regarded it as a more intellectual art than sculpture. He wrote that "the sculptor's work entails greater physical effort and the painter's greater mental effort," and he contrasted the way a painter could work in fine clothes while listening to music to with the sweaty, noisy labor involved in sculpture. On the other hand, partisans of sculpture praised its grandeur, its permanence, and the fact that it could show a figure in three dimensions, whereas a painting offered only two.

                    In his influential Het Schilder-Boeck2018救济金6元棋牌 (1604), Karel van Mander, known as then "Dutch Vasari" for his writings and accomplishments as a painter, urged artists to maintain an exemplary behavior in order to elevate the social status of their profession. He believed that since painting required training and imagination it should be considered on par with literature or philosophy which by many was considered the highest expressions of the human spirit. He encouraged painters not to waste time, get drunk or fight or draw attention by living an immoral life, but to frequent princes and learned people whenever possible. However, Van Mander never believed that artists should blindly follow nature: he thought they should perfect it, and not merely represent what they saw, no matter how accurately and skillfully done.

                    Although the young Vermeer must have sided with Leonardo's position regarding the superiority of painting over sculpture, when he painted his Diana he may have had in mind Van Mander's advice to show Italians how wrong they were wrong in their belief that Northern painters could not paint human figures. In any case, the Diana2018救济金6元棋牌 reveals that Vermeer was an ambitious painter who would not be content to humbly exercise his craft as the great part of Dutch painters did.

                    The Diana theme

                    Ovid as imagined in the Nuremberg Chronicle, 1493

                    2018救济金6元棋牌Ovid as imagined in the Nuremberg Chronicle, 1493

                    The subject of Vermeer's only surviving mythological scene is drawn from Ovid's Metamorphoses (Book III, 138–252), in which Diana, the Greek goddess of the hunt and an emblem of chastity, reposes at the end of the day with her nymphs. Vermeer chose to portray an unusual moment before, and not during, the climax of the story when Actaeon, a young prince out hunting, inadvertently discovered the nude Diana and her companions. Diana attempted to avoid his stares by shielding her nakedness with the bodies of her attendant nymphs. She then splashed water at the head of Actaeon and hurled an imprecation at him. Incensed at Actaeon's lustful glances the goddess transformed the unfortunate hunter into a stag. The helpless Actaeon was not recognized by his own hounds and was torn to pieces.

                    Ovid's Metamorphoses2018救济金6元棋牌 was a source of motifs for painters who delighted in portraying the exotic and violent stories from the Renaissance period onward. However, by the mid-17th century Diana was represented only occasionally by Dutch artists.

                    Contemporary precedents, Jacob van Loo

                    Diana and Her Nymphs, Jacob van Loo

                    Diana and Her Nymphs
                    Jacob van Loo
                    100 x 136 cm.
                    Statens Museum for Kunst, Copenhagen

                    Today, art historians generally place Vermeer's Diana among the very first efforts of the young artist. However, due to its mythological subject matter, Italianate style and rather conventional facture, it had been previously attributed to Jan Vermeer van Utrecht (1630-c. 1696). At one time, the work's signature had been altered to that of Nicholaes Maes. Although the canvas is not well preserved and cannot be objectively judged, the rendering of anatomy and drapery disclose clear signs of technical uncertainty, as might be expected from a young painter at grips with such a complicated and ambitious composition.

                    Most modern Vermeer experts have followed the German art historian Wilhelm von Bode (1845–1929), who recognized a very similar arrangement of the figures in a work of the same theme by Jacob van Loo, a classical painter from Amsterdam who had made inroads into the lucrative Hague court. In fact, it would seem that the young Vermeer was aware of more than one of Van Loo's various versions of the subject. In particular, the poses of background figures of Van Loo's 1648 Diana are strongly reminiscent of those of the figures, as well as the somber lighting and the prevailing solemnity of Vermeer's composition. Vermeer may have drawn from other sources as well, in particular from Rembrandt's Bathsheba2018救济金6元棋牌, for the pose of the seated Diana and her attendant (inverted by Vermeer), as well as the somber mood and moral weight of the picture. Since both Van Loo and Rembrandt were working in Amsterdam, it has been advanced that Vermeer spent some time there to accrue his knowledge of painting from two of the most reputable artists of the time.

                    Some Vermeer writers place the Diana immediately before his Christ in the House of Martha and Mary while others, some time after. Perhaps the more sophisticated technique of the Christ is enough to prove that the Diana2018救济金6元棋牌 is the first of surviving works by Vermeer.

                    Vermeer & istoria (history painting)

                    Artemis the huntress, Roman copy of Greek statue

                    Artemis the huntress, called "Diana of Versailles"
                    Roman copy of Greek statue
                    Attributed to Leochares c. 325 B.C.
                    Marble, height: 2.01 m.
                    Musée du Louvre, Paris

                    Vermeer's Diana is a characteristic example of istoria2018救济金6元棋牌, or history painting. History painting, which represents biblical, mythological or historical subjects, usually on grand scale, originated in Italy and became the dominant form of painting throughout Europe.

                    2018救济金6元棋牌The goal of history painting was to instruct the mind and elevate the human spirit. History painters believed they were not merely artisans, but participants of the Liberal, rather than Mechanical, Arts. Above all history painter emphasized harmony, proportion and balance in their compositions. They employed dense but smooth brushwork and positive color to idealize and perfect form rather than to reveal its temporary state. Most history paintings were commissioned by the church or well-to-do patrons who furnished the artist with a subject derived from textual material such as the Bible or classical mythology, although great historical events were also appropriate. Thus, the task of the history painter was essentially to represent to the best of his ability the cultural aspirations of the patron, rather than his own.

                    Dutch history painting drew inspiration from many of the same writings and sources used by the masters of the Italian Renaissance.

                    Notwithstanding its theoretical superiority, history painting did not constitute the highest percentage of artistic output in the Netherlands. It was, in fact, easily outstripped in number by those genres that contemporary art theoreticians classified as inferior: portrait painting, genre scenes, landscape and, lowest of all, still life. The proliferation of the "lower" categories of painting was undoubtedly a consequence of the transformation of painting into a commodity.

                    A number of Dutch history painters prospered in Vermeer's time, including the great Rembrandt van Rijn. However, although many of the most successful Dutch classicists of the period, such as Gerrit van Honthorst, Jan de Bray and Cesar van Everdingen, had been forgotten in favor of the genere painters, they began to receive the attention they deserved in the second half of the 20th century by savvy art professionals, although the public still reamins barely aware of their work.

                    Rembrandt's influence on Vermeer

                    Bathsheba at her Bath, Rembrandt van Rijn

                    Bathsheba at her Bath
                    Rembrandt van Rijn
                    Oil on canvas, 142 x 142 cm.
                    Musée du Louvre, Paris

                    Since the origin of modern Vermeer studies, a few of the artist's early works have been linked to Rembrandt although there is no direct evidence in regards. In his celebrated essays of 1886, Thoré-Bûrger, who is credited for having rediscovered Vermeer, wrote that Vermeer's Procuress is "absolutament rembrandtesque." Many modern Vermeer authorities have concurred. Arthur K. Wheelock Jr. wrote "Diana's somber mood and her pose, as well as that of her kneeling attendant, are so similar in content and feeling to Rembrandt's Bathsheba2018救济金6元棋牌 of 1634 that it seems highly probably that Vermeer knew this work firsthand."

                    Vermeer may have knew Rembrandt's art via2018救济金6元棋牌 Carel Fabritius, the Amsterda's master's most talented apprentice who had briefly stayed in Delft when Vermeer was beginning to paint.

                    A circular composition?

                    Diana and her Companions (deigram), Johannes Vermeer

                    The present work probably displays Vermeer's familiarity with one of the most successful pictorial tools for organizing complex images: the circular composition. A true circular composition does not make use of circular objects but those which, combined by the artist, create a circular structure.

                    Circular compositions were employed not only to manipulate the viewer's optical experience but to convey the idea of unity, balance, repose and wholeness, considered cardinal values of true painting. Like any device, the circular composition must not be overdone. It should be subliminally intuited by the observer but not consciously noticed lest it dominate the illusionist reading of the motif. In Vermeer's Diana, the bodies and limbs of the figures form a graceful, gentle circle.

                    In classical painting, much of a painter's attention was given to keeping edges of the composition well "guarded" and impeding the wayward eye from escaping out of the picture's perimeters. Vermeer may have applied the circular composition to another early work, the Christ in the House of Martha and Mary.

                    A forged signature

                    Singing Couple, Ascribed to Jan Vermeer van Utrecht

                    Singing Couple
                    Ascribed to Jan Vermeer van Utrecht
                    Oil on canvas, 79 x 63.5 cm.
                    Museum Kunst Palast, Düsseldorf

                    2018救济金6元棋牌In 1885, Victor de Stuers examined the present painting's signature, which then read "NMaes." De Stuers realized that the letters "NM" were created from the remains of an underlying signature that included the letters "IVM." He concluded that the painting was by Johannes Vermeer of Delft. Evidently, the original signature had been altered by someone who thought that the painting would sell better if it bore the name of the illustrious Nicolaes Maes.

                    De Stuers' supposition was confirmed by restorer Z. L.van den Berg a few years later. Ironically, in the 1895 catalogue raisonné of the Mauritshuis, the painting was attributed to Jan Vermeer of Utrecht, a nondescript contemporary of Vermeer (see$$$$$).

                    The real Vermeer signature is now only dimly visible.

                    Vermeer in Italy?

                    Early art historians believed that Vermeer, like other Dutch artists of the time, had spent some years training in Italy. However, it was later discovered that it was the obscure landscapist Johannes Vermeer of Utrecht whose presence in Rome was documented in the mid-1650s, and not his famous counterpart. Nonetheless, the knowledge of composition, broad execution and moral seriousness of his first compositions show that the young Vermeer was keenly aware of the strengths of Italian painting. In fact, some historians believe his art is indebted, albeit indirectly, to the most debated Italian artist of the time, Caravaggio, for the strong chiaroscural lighting of his early pictures.

                    After the publication of Karel van Mander's Het Schilder-Boeck2018救济金6元棋牌 in 1604, a trip to Italy had become a rite of passage for aspiring Dutch and Flemish painters. Often entailing a difficult and dangerous journey, young artists could spend years getting to Italy, often using their artistic talents to pay their way. Many never made it all the way to Italy, and some of those who arrived never attempted the trip back. The attraction of the Antique and the High Renaissance was irresistible.

                    2018救济金6元棋牌In the early 17th century, a group of Utrecht painters who had traveled to Rome fell under the spell of the work of Caravaggio and his followers. Once returned to Utrecht, they introduced a dramatically new style of painting stressing the contrasts between light and dark, a quality for which Rembrandt was later to become so celebrated.

                    Vertumnus and Pomona, Abraham Bloemaert

                    Vertumnus and Pomona
                    Abraham Bloemaert
                    Oil on canvas, 98 x 125 cm.
                    Private collection

                    2018救济金6元棋牌Italian painting was also important to Utrecht painters who never crossed the Alps. One such painter was Abraham Bloemaert, the father of the so-called Utrecht School, in whose huge workshop many painters were trained. But because some of these artists traveled to Italy, returning to pass on their learning to their master, Bloemaert's variegated oeuvre bears visible testimony of a succession of Italian influences. His fame extended so far that even the great Flemish master Peter Paul Rubens visited him in Utrecht.

                    Another painter with strong connections to Italy was the principal artist of Delft, Leonaert Bramer, a Catholic and close friend of the Vermeer family. Bramer is documented in Italy from 1614 to before 1628. Although Bramer is principally credited for a series of bizarre Biblical nocturnal scenes executed in a distinctly Italianate style, his range of pictorial styles may have been wider than recognized. He worked for tapestry firms, designing and painting murals and ceilings, some of which are strongly illusionistic in style. He is said to have produced true fresco paintings, a rare feat north of the Alps. A tapestry with a design after Bramer shows a "merry company" scene complete with repoussoir tapestry which cannot but recall Vermeer's Officer and Laughing Girl.

                    Listen to period music

                    music icon Henry Purcell
                    Rondeau from the Incidental Music for The Fairy Queen [512 KB]
                    Orchestra of the Accademia Monteverdiana2018救济金6元棋牌. Denis Stevens.

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