Google Doodle celebrates Dutch artist Johannes Vermeer

On Friday, 12 November 2021, Google Doodle finds interesting ways to feature the distinct artistic style of the beloved Dutch painter Johannes Vermeer. Learn who he is and why he is being celebrated in this article.

Google Doodle is Google’s way of celebrating holidays, anniversaries, and the lives of famous artists, pioneers, and scientists with fun logos. Johannes Vermeer has gotten a spot on Google Doodle with an interesting cartoon to show his craft on the 26th anniversary of the opening of an exhibition at Washington, DC’s National Gallery of Art featuring 21 of his works.

Johannes Vermeer’s Friday, 12 November 2021 tribute feature depicts three of his noteworthy paintings side by side as though they were on display in a museum.

On the left is, The Allegory of Painting (1666-1668), While the one in the middle is a Woman Writing a Letter, with her Maid (1670-1671), and the third painting is a Girl Reading a Letter at an Open Window (1657-1659).

However, not everyone in the world who uses Google can see this particular Doodle. Only people in countries like; US, Canada, Iceland, Peru, Argentina, Chile, Japan, Norway, Ireland, France, Italy, Germany, Ukraine, Lithuania, Poland, Greece and Bulgaria, Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Libya, Egypt, Jordan, Iraq, Oman, Saudi Arabia, and the UAE, can see it.

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Who is Johannes Vermeer?

Johannes Vermeer painting

Johannes Vermeer was a Dutch painter famous for capturing in exquisite detail the tranquil scenes of daily life in domestic interior settings. He is renowned for the sharp contrasts created by his delicate use of light and shadow.

They regard him as the greatest artist of the Dutch Golden Age, irrespective of being almost forgotten in Dutch art history. It took centuries for art historians to rediscover him and his delicate touch. Now, only 35 of his paintings are known.

Early life

Not much about the Dutch artist’s early life is known. However, according to historians, he was born in Delft, the Netherlands, in 1632 to Reijnier Janszoon, his father. Vermeer grew up surrounded by arts because his father owned a business that sold paintings. His father died in 1652, and Johannes Vermeer took over the business.

About a year after, in April 1653, Vermeer got married to Catharina Bolenes, who was from a rich home, as her mother was quite wealthy. When they had financial troubles, they moved in with his wife’s mother. Johannes Vermeer had over ten children with his wife. There’s not much information about them, with their names unknown.

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Vermeer started his painting career when he moved in with his mother-in-law. Her house became his home and studio for the rest of his days and also the backdrop for most of his paintings. By the 1650s, his painting took shape into what could be could his “painting style.” He painted intricate symbology with a focus on domestic interior scenes.

By 1653, though, he had gained enough respect within the local art community to be permitted to join an association of painters known as the Guild of Saint Luke. In 1665, he created perhaps his most famous work, The Girl with the Pearl Earring, which is currently on display at the Mauritshuis museum in The Hague. He also painted one of the final works that depicted the Catholic faith and the persecution faced by its followers.

Johannes Vermeer’s Girl with a Pearl Earring painting in 1665, Mauritshuis.

Despite his creative works, he wasn’t known because he faced tough competition with the wealth of other talented painters in the Netherlands, especially since he only painted about three pieces yearly. Also, most of Vermeer’s works were purchased by a single patron, and this gave him little opportunity for his excellent works to be esteemed outside of Delft.

Johannes Vermer
Google Doodle celebrating Dutch painter Johannes Vermeer

In 1672, tragedy buffeted the region between economic downturns and multiple wars in Europe. And these led to a massive downturn in art sales, in turn, it aversely affected both Johannes Vermeer’s works and the many paintings his business owned.

In 2019, his artworks were part of an exhibition at Louvre Abu Dhabi that celebrated Dutch masters. They also featured works by Rembrandt, Jan Lievens, and Frans Hals.

In the nineteenth century, Théophile Thoré-Bürger, a journalist and art critic, published a comprehensive list of works that were definitively or potentially created by Johannes Vermeer, and his comprehensive list caused the massive rediscovery of Vermeer’s works around the world, which influenced a new generation of artists, including Salvador Dalí.

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