Essential Vermeer 3.0
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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.


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 Newsletter no. 1

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January 10, 2003

Essential Vermeer Website Additions

I have just added an exclusive interview with Susan Vreeland regarding her best selling novel Girl in Hyacinth Blue which deals with a "lost Vermeer" as it is traced from its present day owner to Vermeer's own studio. I was fortunate enough to have met Susan while she was here in Rome, Italy while promoting her latest novel.


The Girl in Hyacinth Blue has been recently produced by Hallmark Hall of Fame into a film entitled Brush with Fate which will be aired on February 2, 2003 on CBS (USA). I am particularly happy to announce this event since I was commissioned (I am a painter by profession) to do the painting, an "unknown Vermeer" which is the centerpiece of the film. Needles to say, the opportunity to paint an "original" Vermeer with a persona of its own, rather than a copy of an existing painting, was as stimulating as it was challenging. A page with a description of the how the picture was conceived and painted will be the subject of an upcoming page.

Meanwhile, a new page that deals with contemporary literature and cinema inspired by Vermeer paintings has also just been added. Note that an evocative new novel, The Dance of Geometry, centered on Vermeer and his painting, has been listed. Brian Howell, the author, has done extensive research which gives credibility to Vermeer's personal life as well as his social milieu social milieu. I hope to receive readers' reactions.


Another very recent addition is a page that gathers all significant upcoming Vermeer related events such as exhibitions, literature, films and web sites. You might want to have a look since the first half of 2003 certainly offers many chances to get closer to Vermeer's life and work.


January 12, 2003

Queen's Gallery, Buckingham Palace - 020 7321 2233 - Johannes Vermeer's A Lady at the Virginal with a Gentleman; Lorenzo Lotto's psychologically compelling portrait of the collector Andrea Odoni; Thomas Gainsborough's swagger portrait of the musician Johann Christian Fischer; Johan Zoffany's glorious Tribuna of the Uffizi; William Powell Frith's delightful Ramsgate Sands: Life at the Seaside - are among the most significant painting on view.

opening hours:
The Queen's Gallery, Buckingham Palace, London SW1A 1AA
10:00–17:30 every day (last admission 16:30) Entry is by timed-ticket.
Admission: Adult £6.50, over 60 £5.00, under 17 £3.00, under 5 Free


by Jonathan Janson

This web site will be online in the second half of January, 2003. It will fully explore every aspect of Girl with a Pearl Earring, one of Johannes Vermeer's absolute masterworks. Who was the sitter and was the painting even intended as a portrait? Why had it remained in complete obscurity until it was rediscovered in 1882 and sold for the price of a reproduction? Was it a part of a pendant? Did Vermeer sell the painting during his lifetime? Why was the original background a deep transparent green rather than the black we see today? Was the pearl a real one? What significance did the turban have? How was it painted? Which pigments were used?

All these and many more questions are addressed drawing from the most up-to-date information and widest historically founded sources. Opening announcement of the home page of The Essential Vermeer.



Grand Opening: Friday, January 17, 2003, in Delft. Drs. Kees Alden, independent Dutch art historian and author of important Vermeer related internet web sites, will present his new web site to the public on January 17, 2003. Visitors will be able to enter a 3D digital model of Vermeer's home (which no longer exists) and click on some 150 different household inventory items. At the opening presentation, digital images available via a video beamer, with expert commentary by the authors (Kees Kaldenbach (art historian), Allan Kuiper (industrial designer and Internet designer), Henk Zantkuijl (restoration architect, emeritus assistant professor TU Delft. Zantkuijl who was also involved in the restoration of Rembrandt house, Amsterdam). The web site will be accessible the same day on the WWW at http://www.xs4all.nl/~kalden/

THE GIRL IN HYACINTH BLUE, which features a "lost Vermeer" painted by this site's author, Jonathan Janson, will be aired on CBS Sunday February 2, 2003.

The script was drawn from the best selling novel by Susan Vreeland and produced by Hallmark Hall of Fame. Vreeland's exquisite novel follows the trail of "unknown" painting, The Girl in Hyacinth Blue, from the time of its creation in seventeenth-century Holland to the present.



Madrid, Museo Nacional del Prado. Another excellent opportunity to view not only some of Vermeer's most significant works together, but to compare them with other Dutch paintings of similar theme. Some of Vermeer's most important paintings such as the magnificent The Art of Painting from the Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna, Woman with a Balance from the National Gallery, Washington and the Young Woman with a Water Jug from the Metropolitan Museum, New York will be on view. This exceptional event will certainly be worth the trip. For further information click here, then click, forthcoming openings on the bottom of the page and then on Vermeer and the Dutch Interior.

museum hours:
Tuesday to Sunday and public holidays 9 a.m.–7 p.m.
24 and 31 December 9 a.m.–2 p.m.
(Last entry 30 minutes before closing. Visitors are requested to start vacating the galleries 10 minutes before closing)
Monday: Closed. 1 January, Good Friday, 1 May and 25 December: Closed.

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