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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.

LOOK INSIDE

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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Vermeer's Palette: Carmine

carmine

Origin, History and Characteristics

(cochineal, crimson lake)

Carmine is a natural organic dyestuff made from the dried bodies of the female cochineal insect, crocus cacti, which lives on various cactus plants in Mexico and in Central and South America. Carmine must be precipitated on clay, since it has no body of its own. It was brought to Europe shortly after the discovery of those countries, first described by Mathioli in 1549. The finest quality, known as nacarat carmine, is non poisonous and quite beautiful with the peculiarity of being more permanent in transmitted light as a transparent color, than when under direct light. According to Maximillian Toch, it is only legitimate as a food coloring, as exposure to the sunlight for three months, bleaches the pigment completely.

Since carmine is very transparent, it is an excellent pigment for glazing.

Carmine in Vermeer's Painting

Carmine has been detected in only two of Vermeer's paintings, The Love Letter and The Procuress. In The Love Letter it was most likely used in the design of the leather guilt wall covering (fig. 1) behind the two sitters or in the hanging curtain.

Vermeer most likely used carmine more extensively but either in areas which have not been examined or else it has suffered fading.

The Love Letter, Johannes Vermeerfig. 1 The Love Letter (detail)
Johannes Vermeer
c. 1667–1670
Oil on canvas, 44 x 38.5.cm.
Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam

Looking Over Vermeer's Shoulder is a comprehensive study of the materials and painting techniques that made Vermeer one of the greatest masters of European art. But to gain the clearest picture of Vermeer's day-to-day methods we must not only look at what went on his inside studio but inside the studios of his most accomplished colleagues as well.

Looking Over Vermeer's Shoulder, then, lays out in clear, comprehensible language every facet of 17th-century and Vermeer's painting practices including training, canvas preparation, underdrawing, underpainting, glazing, palette, brushes, pigments and composition. Also investigated are a number of key issues as they relate specifically to Vermeer such as the camera obscura, studio organization as well as how he depicted wall-maps, floor tiles, pictures-within-pictures, carpets and other of his most characteristic motifs.

Bolstered by his qualifications as a practicing painter and a Vermeer connoisseur, the three-volume PDF format permits the author to address each of the book's 24 topics with requisite attention. By observing at close quarters the studio practices of Vermeer and his preeminent contemporaries, the reader will acquire a concrete understanding of 17th-century painting methods and gain a fresh view of Vermeer's 35 works of art, which reveal a seamless unity of craft and poetry.

While not written as a "how-to" manual, realist painters will find a true treasure trove of technical information that can be apapted to almost any style of figurative painting.

LOOKING OVER VERMEER'S SHOULDER
author: Jonathan Janson
date: 2020 (second edition)
pages: 294
format: PDF | 3 volumes
illustrations: 200-plus illustrations and diagrams



3 Volumes: $29.95 | $14.95


Looking Over Vermeer's Shoulder

VOL I (11MB)

1 / Vermeer's Training, Technical Background and Ambitions
2 / An Overview of Vermeer’s Technical & Stylistic Evolution
3 / Fame, Originality & Subject Matter
4 / Reality or Illusion: Did Vermeer’s Interiors ever Exist?
5 / Color
6 / Composition
7 / Mimesi & Illusionism


Looking Over Vermeer's Shoulder

VOL II (17MB)

8 / Perspective
9 / Camera Obscura Vision
10 / Light & Modeling
11 / Studio
12 / Four Essential Motifs in Vermeer’s Oeuvre
13 / Drapery
14 / Painting Flesh


Looking Over Vermeer's Shoulder

VOL III (13MB)

15 / Canvas
16 / Grounding
17 / “Inventing,” or Underdrawing
18 / “Dead-Coloring,” or Underpainting
19 / “Working-up,” or Finishing
20 / Glazing
21 / Mediums, Binders & Varnishes
22 / Paint Application & Consistency
23 / Pigments, Paints & Palettes
24 / Brushes & Brushwork

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