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A Gallery of 17th-and 18th-century Paintings, Drawings and Engravings of Delft

"Vermeer's life and art are closely associated with the city of Delft. He was born in Delft in 1632 lived there until his death in 1675. Delft, despite being a commercial center in the mid-seventeenth century, was a provincial place. Its growth was restrained and orderly; its canals and houses small and unpretentious. Today one still finds this tranquility in its tree-lined streets. Only its two great churches, the Oude Kerk and the Nieuwe Kerk, interrupt the low profile of the city's skyline.

Some of the difficulties of appraising Vermeer's achievement are inherent in any attempt to interpret the works of a previous era. Paintings are essentially a means of communication. Through them artists strive to relate stories, ideas, moods, and credos. Delft in the early 1650s became an active and exciting place for a young artist like Vermeer. The stylistic conventions that had recently dominated the city were replaced by fresh approaches to the depiction of landscape, cityscape, architectural painting, portraiture, and genre painting. Whereas Delft artists in the first half of the century had effectively removed their subjects from the context of daily life, those working after 1650 actively sought to depict man within, and reacting to, a specific environment. Identifiable buildings, streets, churches, and tombs serve as backdrops, or even points of focus, for their paintings. Locations are recognizable because objects are painted with the utmost care and precision. At the same time, these artists became increasingly aware of the effects of natural light in both interior and exterior scenes." 1

The School of Delft, as the burst of artistic activity is commonly referred to today, was loosely composed of a heterogeneous group of artists, most of whom were born outside Delft but worked there at one time or another for varying lengths of time between 1650 and 1670. These artists came to Delft from many locations and for many reasons. According to some art historians, there was, however, no pivotal figure in Delft (least of all Vermeer) around whom the other painters gathered for inspiration although at one time or another Carel Fabritius, Pieter Saenredam, Paulus Potter and even Nicolaes Maes have been cast in the role of catalysts.

We know that Italian artists and art writers of the Renaissance thought the artistic production from each of the major Italian cities (Rome, Florence and Venice) presented distinct characteristics distinguishing them from the others. There is no documentary evidence showing that painters of Amsterdam, Haarlem or Utrecht had ever viewed the more innovative art production of Delft distinct from the production of other cities—enough so to merit an appellative. Nor is it known if the painters of the School of Delft themselves held that there was a common thread binding them together. Vermeer may have urged the awkward Pieter de Hooch to draw his figures and organize his compositions with greater care, but if Vermeer's white-washed walls owe more to the pearl-gray church walls of Gerard Houckgeest or Emmanuel de Witte rather than to the stark white background of Fabritius's tiny Goldfinch is impossible to know. A significant number of the paintings produced in Delft are not dated, frustrating attempts to determine the directions of influence with any degree of accuracy.

DelftThe Oude Kerk in Delft (detail)
Emmanuel de Witte
1655
Oil on Canvas, 51,8 x 41 cm
Private collection

On the other hand, it is almost impossible to believe that in a city as small as Delft, which at that time could have been be crossed by foot in a few minutes, such exceptionally talented painters belonging to the same guild would not have talked shop and kept a close eye on their collogues' progress, if nothing else in order not to out shown in the art market's competitive arena.

But the flowering of the School of Delft wilted as quickly as it it had bloomed: by 1675 most of the painters who had contributed the the city's artistic rise had left Delft, attracted, most likely, by better financial prospects elsewhere as Delft's economy lapsed into inexorable decline.

Works


FrisiusTruchsess wordt te Delft ontvangen, 1584
1584
Atlas van Stolk
print maker: Simon Frisius
publisher: Michiel Colijn
publisher: Amsterdam
1613–1615 and/or 1621–1622
Engraving on paper, 13.5 x 16.2 cm.
Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam

vroomView of Delft from the Southwest
Hendrick Cornelisz Vroom
c. 1615
Oil on canvas, 71 x 160 cm.
Prinsenhof, Delft

veldeThe Oostpoort (East Gate) at Delft
Jan van de Velde II
1625–1630
Pen and brown ink, 19.1 x 30.4 cm.
Musée de l'École Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts, Paris

brueghelView of Delft
Jan Brueghel

Ink and pencil on paper, 203 x 400 cm.
Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam

View of a Dutch TownView of a Dutch Town (Delft?)
Willem van de Velde the Younger (1633–1707)

Metalpoint and gray wash on laid paper, incised with stylus, 18 x 28.8 cm.
National Gallery of Art, Washington D.C.

dddView of the Rotterdam Gate at Delft (verso: Sketches of Sailboats and Two Seated Figures)
Simon de Vlieger
c. 1600–1653
Graphite and gray wash, on paper; verso: graphite.
19.4 x 28.9 cm.
The Morgan Library, New York

Simon VliegerThe Northwest Side of the Rotterdam Gate at Delft in Winter
Simon de Vlieger
c. 1645–1650
Black chalk, brush and gray ink on paper, 14.8 x 23.3 cm.
Rijksmuseum, Amsterdm

View of Delft from the North, Jn de VosView of Delft from the North
Jan de Vos I
1647
Stedelijk museum Prinsenhof, Delft

kesselThe Rotterdam Gate at Delft
Jan van Kessel
c. 1649–1669
Black chalk, pen and brown ink, 17.9 x 24.4 cm.
Musées Royaux des Beaux-Arts de Belgique, De Grez Collection, Brussels

A View of The Hague from the Northwest, Jan van Goyen A View of The Hague from the Northwest
Jan van Goyen
1647
Oil on wood, 66 x 96.2 cm.
Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

The Nieuwe Kerk at Delft with the Tomb of Willem the Silent, Emanuel de WitteThe Nieuwe Kerk at Delft with the Tomb of Willem the Silent
Emanuel de Witte
1650
Oil on oak panel, 68.6 × 48.3 cm.
Detroit Institute of Arts, Detroit

View of Delft, Jan de Bisschop A View of Delft
Jan de Bisschop
c. 1650–1660
Graphite, pen and brush amd brown ink , 9.5 x 15.5 cm.
Amsterdams Historisch Museum, Asmterdam

Pieter van AschThe Delft City Wall with the Houttuinen
Pieter Jansz van Asch:
c. 1650
Oil on canvas, 53 x 76 cm.
Private collection

Interior of the Oude Kerk, Delft, Emmanuel de WitteInterior of the Oude Kerk, Delft
Emanuel de Witte
probably 1650
Oil on panel, 48.3 x 34.6 cm.
Metropolitan Museum of Art, New Yorl

Interior of the Oude Kerk, Delft, Emmanuel de Witte Interior of the Oude Kerk, Delft
Emanuel de Witte
1651
Oil on oak panel, 60.5 x 44 cm.
Wallace Collection, London

Woman with Basket of Beans in the Kitchen Garden, Pieter de HoochWoman with Basket of Beans in the Kitchen Garden
Pieter de Hooch
1651
Oil on canvas, 69.5 x 59 cm.
Kunstmuseum Basel

The Tomb of William the Silent in the Nieuwe Kerk in Delft, 1651, Gerard HouckgeestThe Tomb of William the Silent in the Nieuwe Kerk in Delft, 1651
Gerard Houckgeest
1651
Oil on panel, 56 x 38 cm.
Maritshuis, The Hague

Choir of the Nieuwe Kerk in Delft with the Tomb of William the Silent, Gerard HouckgeestChoir of the Nieuwe Kerk in Delft with the Tomb of William the Silent
Gerard Houckgeest
c. 1651
Oil on panel, 66.5 x 77.5 cm.
Mauritshuis, The Hague

Carel Fabritius, A View of DelftA View of Delft
Carel Fabritius
1652
Oil on canvas, 20.9 x 35.7 cm.
National Gallery, London

goyenView of Delft
Jan van Goyen
1652
Chalk and brush on paper, 11.9 x 19.7 cm.
Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam

goyenOostpoort in Delft
Jan van Goyen

Drawing on paper, 12 x 19 cm.
Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam

The Oostpoort of theTown of Delft, with a Mill
Jan Josefsz. Van Goyen

Black chalk, grey wash, brown ink framing lines
10.6 x 16.9 cm.
Private collection

Oostpoort of DelftOostpoort of Delft
Anonymous draughtsman: Jan van Goyen (school of)
c. 1600–1699
Brush and ink, 12.6 x 74 cm.
Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam

Interior of the Oude Kerk, Delft, with the Tomb of Piet Hein, Hendrick van VlietInterior of the Oude Kerk, Delft, with the Tomb of Piet Hein
Hendrick Cornelisz. van Vliet
between 1652 and 1653
Oil on panel, 76 x 65 cm.
Private collection

Interior of a Church, Emmanuel de Witte Interior of a Church
Emanuel de Witte:
c. 1660
Oil on canvas, 80 x 66 cm.
Hermitage Museum, St. Petersburg

Interior of the Oude Kerk, Delft, Seen through a Stone Archway, ElsevierInterior of the Oude Kerk, Delft, Seen through a Stone Archway
Louwijs Aernouts Elsevier:
1653
Oil on canvas mounted on panel, 55 x 45 cm.
National Museum of Ancient Art, Lisbon

Intérieur de la Nieuwe Kerk à Delft, Gerard Houckgeest
Intérieur de la Nieuwe Kerk à Delft
Gerard Houckgeest
1653
Oil on panel, 43 x 52 cm.
Musées royaux des Beaux-Arts de Belgique, Bruxelles

Tomb of William the Silent in the Nieuwe Kerk, Delft, with an Illusionistic Curtain, Emmanuel de WitteTomb of William the Silent in the Nieuwe Kerk, Delft, with an Illusionistic Curtain
Emanuel de Witte
1653
Oil on panel, 83 x 65 cm.
Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles

View of Delft from the North, Jan van GoyenView of Delft from the North
Jan van Goyen
1654
Oil on panel, 68 x 99 cm.
Museum Het Prinsenhof

Interior of the Old Church in Delft, Gerard HouckgeestInterior of the Old Church in Delft
Gerard Houckgeest:
1654
Oil on panel, 49 x 41 cm.
Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam

Celebration by Torchlight on the Oude Delft, Egbert van den Poel Celebration by Torchlight on the Oude Delft
Egbert van den Poel
c. 1654
Oil on wood, 55 x 43 cm
Gemeente Musea, Delft

Nieuwe Kerk with the Tomb of William the Silent, Hendrick van VlietNieuwe Kerk with the Tomb of William the Silent
Hendrick Cornelisz. van Vliet
c. 1650-1660
Oil on canvas, 102 x 85 cm.
Collection
Liechtenstein Museum, Vienna

Interior of the Oude Kerk, Delft, Hendrick van VlietInterior of the Oude Kerk, Delft
Hendrick Cornelisz. van Vliet
The Burrell Collection

A View of Delft after the Explosion of 1654, Egbert van den Poel A View of Delft after the Explosion of 1654
Egbert van der Poel
1654
Oil on panel, 39.5 x 52.4 cm.
Private collection

saftlevenView of Delft after the Explosion of the Gunpowder Arsenal on October 12, 1654
Herman Saftleven II
Black chalk, pen and brown ink, brush and brown wash on two sheets of paper, 24.9 x 74.9 cm
Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

Delft after the Explosion of 1654Delft after the Explosion of 1654
Attributed to Daniel Vosmaer

Brush and gray, pink, blue and green wash, over black chalk, within brown ink framing lines, 30.4 x 395 cm.
Private collection

A View of Delft after the Explosion of 1654A View of Delft after the Explosion of 1654
Egbert van der Poel
1654
Oil on oak, 36.2 x 49.5 cm.
National Gallery, London

iew of Delft after the Explosion of 1654, Daniel VosmaerView of Delft after the Explosion of 1654
Daniel Vosmaer
1654
Oil on canvas
Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia

Landscape with a View on Delft, Daniel Vosmaer Landscape with a View on Delft
Daniel Vosmaer

Oil on oak, 41 x 49 cm.
Private collection

Delft After the Explosion of the Gunpowder Arsenal in 1654
Delft After the Explosion of the Gunpowder Arsenal in 1654
Gerbrand van der Eeckhout
Probably late 1654
Pen and brown ink, gray wash over black chalk, 10.9 x 13.6 cm.
Kupferstichkabinett, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin

The Explosion of the Ppowder Magazine in Delft, 12 October 1654, Egbert van Poel The Explosion of the Powder Magazine in Delft, 12 October 1654
Egbert van der Poel
c. 1654–1660
Oil on panel, 37 x 62 cm.
Rijksmuseum, Amsterdamn

A Mayor of Delft and his Daughter, Jan SteenA Mayor of Delft and his Daughter
Jan Steen
1655
Oil on canvas, 82.5 x 68.7 cm
Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam

The Oude Kerk in Delft, Emmanuel de Witte The Oude Kerk in Delft
Emmanuel de Witte
1655
Oil on Canvas, 51,8 x 41 cm
Private collection

Oostpoort of DelftOostpoort of Delft
Jan de Bisschop
c. 1655–1660
Ink and brush on paper, 9.6 x 15.8 cm.
Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam


Interior of the Nieuwe Kerk in Delft with the Tomb of William the Silent, Emmanuel de Witte Interior of the Nieuwe Kerk in Delft with the Tomb of William the Silent
Emanuel De Witte
1656
Oil on canvas, 97 x 80 cm.
Palais des Beaux-Arts, Lille

A Courtyard in Delft at Evening: a Woman Spinning, Pieter de Hooch A Courtyard in Delft at Evening: a Woman Spinning
Pieter de Hooch
1657
Oil on canvas, 69.3 x 53.8 cm.
The Royal Trust, London

The Woman with a Maid, Pieter de HoochThe Woman with a Maid
in a Courtyard

Pieter de Hooch
c. 1657
Oil on canvas, 68 x 57.4 cm.
Toledo Museum of Art, Toledo (OH)

A Woman and Child in a Bleaching Ground, Pieter de Hooch A Woman and Child in a Bleaching Ground
Pieter de Hooch
c. 1657–1659
Oil on canvas, 73.5 x 63 cm.
Rothschild Collection, Paris

The Little Street, Johannes VermeerThe Little Street
Johannes Vermeer
c. 1657–1661
Oil on canvas, 53.3 x 44 cm.
The Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam

The Courtyard of a House in Delft, Pieter de HoochThe Courtyard of a House in Delft
Pieter de Hooch
1658
Oil and canvas, 73 x 60 cm.
National Gallery, London

Old Church in Delft with the Tomb of Admiral Tromp , Hendrick van VlietOld Church in Delft with the Tomb of Admiral Tromp
Hendrik van Vliet
1658
Oil on canvas, 123.5 111cm.
Toledo Museum of Art

A Dutch Courtyard, Pieter de HoochA Dutch Courtyard
Pieter de Hooch
c. 1658–1660
Oil on canvas, 69.5 x 60 cm.
Location Mauritshuis, The Hague

The Harbour of Delft, Daniel VosmaerThe Harbour of Delft
Daniel Vosmaer
c. 1658–1660
Oil on canvas, 86 x 101 cm.
Museo de Arte de Ponce, Ponce, Puerto Rico

Interior of the Oude Kerk, Delft, Nendrick van Vliet
Interior of the Oude Kerk, Delft
Hendrick van Vliet
1660
Oil on canvas, 82.6 x 66 cm.
Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

View of Delft, Johannes Vermeer View of Delft
Johannes Vermeer
c. 1660–1663
Oil on canvas, 98.5 x 117.5 cm.
Mauritshuis, The Hague

Maid with a Bucket and Broom in a Courtyard, Pieter de Hooch Maid with a Bucket and Broom in a Courtyard
Pieter de Hooch
c. 1660
Oil on canvas
Staatliche Kunsthalle Karlsruhe

Interior of Oude Kerk, Coenelis de ManInterior of Oude Kerk
Cornelis de Man
c. 1660
Oil on canvas,
Columbus Museum of Art, Columbus (OH)

View Near the Oostpoort of Delft, Gerbrand van den EeckhoutView Near the Oostpoort of Delft
Gerbrand van den Eeckhout
c. 1660
Watercolor and brown ink over pencil, 14.3 x 10 cm.
Kupferstichkabinett der Staatlichen, Berlin

New Church in Delft with the Tomb of William the Silent, Cornelis de ManNew Church in Delft with the Tomb of William the Silent
Cornelis de Man
1660s
Oil on canvas, 124.5 x 106.8 cm.
Speed Art Museum

Interior of the Oude Kerk, Delft, Cornelis de ManInterior of the Oude Kerk, Delft
Cornelis de Mann

Oil on canvas, 104.1 x 121.9 cm.
Private collection

Interior of the Oude Kerk, DelftInterior of the Oude Kerk, Delft
Hendrick Cornelisz. van Vliet
c. 1660–1665
Graphite, pen and brown ink, squared in graphite, 184 x 285 mm
Private collection

Interior of the Nieuwe Kerk, Delft, with the Memorial Tablet of Adriaen Teding van Berkhout, Hendrick van VlietInterior of the Nieuwe Kerk, Delft, with the Memorial Tablet of Adriaen Teding van Berkhout
Hendrick Cornelisz. van Vliet
1661
Oil on canvas, 100 x 112 cm.
Gemeente Musea, Delft

The Interior of the Oude Kerk in Delft, Hendrick van VlietThe Interior of the Oude Kerk in Delft
Hendrick Cornelisz. van Vliet
1661
Oil on oak, 50.6 x 59.7 c.
Städel Museum, Frankfurt

Interior of the Oude Kerk, Delft, Hendrick van VlietInterior of the Oude Kerk, Delft
Hendrik van der Vliet
1662
Oil on canvas, 95 x 85 cm.
Private collection

A View of Delft through an Imaginary Loggia A View of Delft through an Imaginary Loggia
Daniel Vosmaer
1663
Oil on canvas, 91 x 113 cm
Gemeente Musea, Delft

View on the Horse Market in DelftView on the Horse Market in Delft
Pieter Wouwerman
1665
Oil on canvas
Het Stedelijk Museum Prinsenhof, Delft

Interior of the Oude Kerk, Delft, Hendrick van Vliet Interior of the Oude Kerk, Delft
Hendrick Cornelisz. van Vliet
c. 1665–1670
Oil on panel, 42.3 x 33.9 cm.
Private collection

Interior of the Oude Kerk, Delft, Hendrick van VlietInterior of the Oude Kerk, Delft
Hendrick Cornelisz. van Vliet
c. 1665– 1670
Oil on panel, 42.3 x 33.9 cm.
Private collection

Interior of the Oude Kerk in Delft, Hendrick van der VlietInterior of the Oude Kerk in Delft
Hendrik van der Vliet
c. 1665– 1675
Oil on canvas, 77.5 x 68.2 cm.
Mauritshuis, The Hague

Gezicht op Delft en De Lier, Jacob QuackGezicht op Delft en De Lier
print maker: Joost van Geel
publisher: Jacob Quack (possibly)
publisher: Jan Houwens (I) (possibly)
Rotterdam
In or after 1666
Engraving on paper, 14.6 x 41 cm.
Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam

View of Delft from the Schie, BackhuysenView of Delft from the Schie
Ludolf Backhuysen
c. 1670–1675
Brush and gray ink, 11.8 x 16.8 cm.
Historisch Museum, Amsterdam

Jesuit Church on the Oude LangendijkJesuit Church on the Oude Langendijk
Abraham Rademaker
c. 1670
Brush and gray ink, 13.2 x 20.2 cm.
Gemeentearchief, Delft

The Oude Delft Canal And The Oude Kerk, DelftThe Oude Delft Canal And The Oude Kerk, Delft
Jan van der Heyden
1675
Oil on panel, 45 x 57 cm.
National Gallery of Norway

Interior of the Oude Kerk, Delft , Emmanuel de WitteInterior of the Oude Kerk, Delft
Emanuel de Witte
c. 1675–1685
Oil on panel, 62 × 49.2 cm.
Art Intitute of Chicago, Chicago

Coenraet Decker, after drawing by Jan Verkolje (I), View of DelftView of Delft in Bird's Eye Perspective
print maker: Coenraet Decker, after drawing by Jan Verkolje (I)
publisher: Pieter Smith (mentioned on object)
publisher: Pieter Mortier (I), Amsterdam
c. 1678–1703
Engraving, 24.1 x 63 cm.
Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam

Ruine te Delft na de buskruitramp, 1654, Anonymous artistRuine te Delft na de buskruitramp, 1654
Anonymous
c. 1690–1720
Pencil and brown wash on paper, 17.7 x 23.6 cm.
Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam

Rotterdam Gate in Delft from AfarRotterdam Gate in Delft from Afar
Josua de Grave
1695
Pen and brown ink on paper, 9 x 14.7 cm.
Gemeentearchief, Delft

View of Delft View of Delft
Abraham Rademaker (1685–1735)

Ink and brush on paper, 14.5 x 28 cm.
Rijksmuseum, Asmterdam

The Old Men's House on the Voldersgracht The Old Men's House on the Voldersgracht
Abraham Rademaker
c. 1700
Fragment of a colored drawing on paper
Private collection

View of Delft with Schiedam and Rotterdam GatesView of Delft with Schiedam and Rotterdam Gates
Abraham Rademaker
c. 1700–1710
Drawing and wash, 66 x 106 cm.
Stedelijk Museum Het Prinsenhof, Delft

A View of the Delft Market SquareA View of the Delft Market Square
print maker: Leonard Schenk
intermediary draughtsman: Abraham Rademaker
publisher: Leonard Schenk
c. 1730
Etcheing on paper, 57 x 98 cm.
Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam

View of DelftView of Delft
Jan Caspar Philips, intermediary draughtsman: Cornelis Pronk
1742
Etching, 174 x 204 cm.
Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam

Gerrit Toorenburg , A View of Delft A View of Delft
Gerrit Toorenburg
c. 1750
Teylers Museum, Haarlem

A View from the Marketplace with the Nieuwe Kerk in Delft, A View from the Marketplace with the Nieuwe Kerk in Delft

Gerrit Toorenburg
Pen, ink and wash, 21.3 x 18.9 cm.
Private collection

View of the Market with New Church and Town Hall in Delft View of the Market with New Church and Town Hall in Delft
J. Besoet
1765
Engraving
Nederlandse Rechtsgeschiedenis van het Gevangenismuseum

Oude ManhuissteegOude Manhuissteeg
Gerrit Lamberts
c. 1820
Graphite, pen and brown ink, brush and gray ink, 24.9 x 19.3 cm.
Gemeenarchief, Delft

The drawing reveals a glimpse of the upper part of the Delft Guildhall's central arched doorway above the arched bridge as seen through through the Oude Manhuissteeg (Old Men's Alley). The facade on the left represents the inn/house owned by Vermeer's father.

Maxime François Antoine Lalanne , View of DelftView of Delft (after Johannes Vermeer ?)
attributed to Maxime François Antoine Lalanne
c. 1837–1886
Drawing on paper, 15.8 x 23 cm.
Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam

† FOOTNOTES †

  1. Arthur K. Wheelock Jr. Jan Vermeer. New York, 1981, p .9.