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Did Vermeer make mistakes? What is the Milkmaid preparing in her kitchen? Is the Girl with a Pearl Earring really a masterpiece and is her pearl a fake? Why did the artist's reputation vaporize so quickly after he died and why is he so famous today? What tricks and special colors did he use? Bolstered by his lifelong study of Vermeer and decades of experience as a professional painter, Jonathan Janson reveals Vermeer's life and art in human, down-to-earth terms.

For anyone interested in Vermeer the man and Vermeer's art, rather than his myth, 25 Things You Didn't Know about Vermeer offers rare glimpses into the artist's day-to-day experiences and struggles both inside and outside the confines of his studio.

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25 Things You (Probably) Didn't Know about Vermeer: Tricks, Troubles and Triumphs of a Great Dutch Master
Jonathan Janson
2021 | PDF | $6.95

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Essential Vermeer: Citations

Jonathan Janson Jonathan Janson (photo courtesy Tim Jenison)

April, 2020
"Researchers Reveal Hidden Details in Vermeer's 'Girl With a Pearl Earring'"
Smithsonianmag.com, April 29, 2020, by Theresa Macheme
Essential Vermeer cited as resource


June 19, 2019
Vermeer and the Masters of Genre Painting: Inspiration and Rivalry
CAA.reviews, June 19, 2019, by Aneta Georgievska-Shine

Georgievska-Shine writes: Yet in our enthusiastic reception of this widely publicized undertaking, we should not overlook another important precedent: Essential Vermeer, that amazing online resource on scholarly data and images developed over almost two decades by a single individual, the artist and art historian Jonathan Janson. Originally initiated in 2001 and updated to a new version in 2014, this ongoing archive is continuously enriched by new information, from notes about exhibitions and publications to any new “discovery” about Vermeer’s work. In a recognition of his pioneering role in the digital humanities, Janson was also asked to be a consultant on the Meet Vermeer project and has contributed his own essay to it.

As noted earlier, the greatest appeal of Meet Vermeer is the possibility for a virtual pilgrimage: we can imagine ourselves in front of works of art we cannot otherwise visit and scrutinize them to the most minuscule level, for as long as we wish to. Essential Vermeer, on the other hand, is a treasure of information, which makes it far more useful as a teaching and research tool. Most importantly, however, the two complement each other very effectively and will surely prompt scholars and students to think of other similar digital projects. Consider, for instance, the immensity of effort and resources that go into the planning and realization of special exhibitions such as the one under review. Could one not imagine developing a virtual version of such ephemeral events, which would make it possible for scholars and casual museumgoers alike to visit them long after the works on view return to their respective institutions?


2018
12 things you didn't know about Vermeer
Essential Vermeer website author Jonathan Janson writes head essay for Google's collaborative project with 18 art institutions, Meet Vermeer, explaining "12 of things you might not have known about Vermeer."


2018
Want to See All the Vermeers in the World? Now’s Your Chance (Nina Siegal)
New York Times, December 3, 2018
Essential Vermeer website is linked three times from an online review of Google Art Project's, Meet Vermeer


2018
Google's Virtual Vermeer Museum Is a Legitimately Cool Use of AR (Victoria Song)
GIZMODO, December 3, 2018
Essential Vermeer website is linked from an online review of Google Art Project's, Meet Vermeer.


2018
The Mystery of Lost Paintings: The Concert
produced by Sky Arts Production Hub
45 min.
— author and webmaster of Essential Vermeer Jonathan Janson is interviewed in the documentary about Vermeer's lost The Concert.


March, 2018
Girl with a Blog (Abbie Vandervere)
— The Essential Vermeer article "Dead Coloring or Underpainting" is listed as a reference by the Mauritshuis conservator Abbie Vandervere on the webpage "Dressed to Impress" of a Mauritshuis blog which accompanied the technical examination of Vermeer's Girl with a Pearl Earring (Girl with a Blog).


January 9, 2017 (Donald Stone)
Studio International.com Vermeer and the Masters of Genre Painting: Inspiration and Rivalry, by Donald Stone
Stone writes with link: In 1966, no computer website existed – such as the invaluable Sortable Table of All Vermeer Exhibitions from 1838-2018 – indicating the 275 occasions to date (plus two scheduled to take place) on which his paintings have been shown to the public.


September, 2017
Vermeer in Detail (Gary Schwartz)
In the Introduction, Schwartz writes: "The single most important source at my disposal was the remarkable website Essential Vermeer, the work of the artist/art historian Jonathan Janson. His beautifully organized and bounteously stocked treasure of information and images is a model of its kind. Would that every important artist were blessed with such a resource." Other Citations are included.


2017
Traces of Vermeer (Jane Jelley)
—Essential Vermeer is listed in the bibliography.


2017
Vermeer: The Complete Works (Karl Schütz)
—Essential Vermeer is listed in the bibliography.


2016
In July 2016, Janson returns to the Museum of Old and New Art (MONA) in Hobart, Tasmania to test Jenison's hypothesis during a four-month special installation. A highly detailed scale model of Vermeer's Lady Standing at the Virginal (London) is reconstructed on the premise of the museum. On the set, which is visible to the public, Jonathan Janson paints the exact scene that Vermeer would have seen scene using traditional 17th-century painting techniques with the aid of a booth-type and portable camera obscura. The painting requires two months to complete.

Janson then repaints the scene from the same viewpoint, this time with the aid of Jenison's device.

The exhibition is accompanied by a catalogue, Hound in the Hunt: Optical Aids the Art of Vermeer (2016). It includes a richly illustrated forty-page essay by Janson ("How Vermeer Painted") in which the author outlines the materials and techniques of Vermeer. Jenison's hypothesis is discussed.


March, 2015
Vermeer (Wayne Franits)
—Essential Vermeer cited as website resource


2015

In May 2015, Jonathan Janson is invited to the Museum of Old and New Art (MONA) in Hobart, Tasmania to brainstorm an installation that would put to test a hypotheses launched by the Texan businessman Tim Jenison regarding Vermeer's use of a novel optical device called, the comparator mirror. The device was the subject of the documentary Tim's Vermeer (2013). The installation is tentatively named, Hound in the Hunt. Plans are made for the installation and relative catalogue.


 

2015
Travels in Vermeer: A Memoir (Michael White)
—White writes: "Jonathan Janson, a central figure in contemporary Vermeer studies, has helped me immeasurably. As a working painter, Janson writes with intimacy and authority about Vermeer and about the art of painting in general. His website, The Essential Vermeer, is one of the great art troves of the internet, visited daily not only by experts of the field but also by countless students, travelers and amateur Vermeer lovers like myself."


5 March, 2014
Vermeer, La Fabrique de la Gloire (Jan Blanc)
Essential Vermeer is cited in the "sites internet" section.


30 June, 2014, edited on 11 July, 2014
The Schwartzlists (Gary Schwartz)
"Vermeer's blood-sopping saint"
http://www.garyschwartzarthistorian.nl/schwartzlist/?id=192
— In an article regarding the authenticity of the Saint Praxedis, the author cites an Essential Vermeer article as an "excellent entry on Vermeer's signatures on the invaluable Essential Vermeer 2.0."


5 June, 2014
HNA/AANS International Interdisciplinary Conference, Boston
—Essential Vermeer author Jonathan Jansonis invited to co-chair the workshop, Artists in the Age of the Internet: janbrueghel.net, essentialvermeer.com and the Artist Website.


27 December, 2013
The Guardian (Simon Jenkins)
"What Vermeer's Guitar Player taught me about the joy of art. With Kenwood House restored, The Guitar Player is back where she should be and my obsession is renewed"
http://www.theguardian.com/co, mmentisfree/2013/dec/27/vermeer-guitar-player-art-kenwood-house
—Essential Vermeer website is cited and linked.


November 27, 2013
The New York Times (Randy Kennedy)
"For Fervent Fans of the Dutch Masters, 'It's a Dream Come True'"
http://www.nytimes.com/2013/11/28/arts/design/for-fervent-fans-of-the-dutch-masters-its-a-dream-come-true.html?_r=1&
—Essential Vermeer author Jonathan Janson is discussed and website is linked.


June, 2013
Vermeer and Music: The Art of Love and Leisure (exhibition catalogue by Marjorie E. Wieseman)
http://www.nationalgallery.co.uk/products/ng_exhibitions/vermeer_and_music_the_art_of_love_and_
leisure/p_1034693

Listed among "Further Reading" the article "Music in the Time of Vermeer" (by Adelheid Rech, 2005) published on the Essential Vermeer.


August 19, 2013
Johannes Vermeer: The 36th Painting (Erica Trapasso)
https://news.artnet.com/market/johannes-vermeer-the-36th-painting-30525
—Essential Vermeer footnoted in an article about A Young Woman Seated at the Virginal, attributed to Vermeer.


September, 2012
exhibition catalogue: Vermeer: Il secolo d'oro dell'arte olandese (curated by Sandrina Bandera, Walter Liedtke e Arthur K. Wheelock, Jr.)
https://www.scuderiequirinale.it/categorie/catalogo-002
The author of Essential Vermeer, Jonathan Janson, is cited among "Si ringraziano."


2012
The Rijksmuseum Bulletin, vol 1.
"A Question of Framing on Vermeer's 'Woman in Blue Reading a Letter'" (Gregor Weber)
—Essential Vermeer section "Vermeer Paintings in their Frames"is cited on page 27, footnote no. 7.


December, 2008
Vermeer's Hat: The Seventeenth Century and the Dawn of the Global World (Timothy Brook)
http://www.amazon.com/Vermeers-Hat-Seventeenth-Century-Global/dp/1596915994
—Essential Vermeer cited in "Recommended Reading and Sources," p.236


November, 2008
Vermeer: The Complete Paintings (Walter A. Liedtke)
http://www.amazon.com/Vermeer-The-Complete-Paintings-Classical/dp/0810983362
Cited in catalogue entry of The Lacemaker, "Making Lace with Vermeer" (by Adelheid Rech, published in Essential Vermeer), 153.


July 18, 2006
Vermeer in Mauritshuis (Epco Runia)
http://www.amazon.com/Vermeer-Mauritshuis-Epco-Runia/dp/9040090734
Essential Vermeer is cited in the "Acknowledgments" in the "websites" section.


August 1, 2005
Kathryn Shattuck, New York Times
"John Montias, 76, Scholar Of Economics and of Art"
http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9E04E2DE1E3FF932A3575BC0A9639C8B63
— Exclusive Essential Vermeer website interview with Montias is cited and linked.


2002
Jonathan Janson, the author and webmaster of Essential Vermeer and professional painter, paints the imaginary Vermeer painting for the Hallmark Hall of Fame's film, Brush with Fate, based on the best-selling novel: Girl in Hyacinth Blue by Susan Vreeland.

The film can be viewed integrally at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gxaPBYap_Y0

Brush with Fate
produced by Hallmark Hall of Fame
Production: Gillham Road Productions for
Hallmark Hall of Fame

filmed in June/July 2002 in The Netherlands

director:
Brent Shields

cast:
Glenn Close
Ellen Burstyn
Kelly Macdonald
Phyllida Law
Jan Decleir
Thomas Gibson,
Lisa Kreuzer,
Thekla Reuten
Kieran Bew
Laurien van den Broeck (Vermeer's daughter)

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