View of Delft
Artist: Jan Vermeer
Oil painting cityscape on canvas, 98.5x117.5 cm Mauritshuis, The Hague.
View of Delft is a Holand Scene landscape painting by Vermeer, it was painted around 1660-1661, this is one of Vermeer's most famous paintings. The urban view had been a fairly common genre in Dutch painting since the beginning of the century: in particular the layout of the composition, with the bank of the Schie River in the foreground and the city extending on the other side of the water, recalls the paintings of Esaias van de Velde or Pieter Bruegel the Elder. But what is lacking here is the eminently topographic interest displayed by the other painters of views of the period: Vermeer has chosen one part of the city, probably framed by a camera obscura on the upper floor of a house. The artist's main interest is the study of light, and a great deal of space is devoted to the depiction of the sky: stormy clouds darken the buildings that are reflected in the river, while the bank in the foreground appears sunlit; then sky clears in the background, allowing rays of sunshine to fall on the tower of the Niewe Kerk, with a luministic effect that is probably also intended to be symbolic and political, given that William I of Orange had been buried in this church in 1622. Vermeer plays with the harmony of colors with great refinement, with the note of yellow on the houses in the background that relieves the essential uniformity of the painting's tone. This brilliant touch was also to be praised by Proust, who recalled the patch of yellow wall painted with so much skill and refinement by the artist destined to be ever unknown and barely identified under the name Vermeer.
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