The canonicity of Jan Vermeer's oeuvre was originally established within the general framework of modernist aesthetics. The specific concepts guiding critics were developed in the context of a reappraisal of Dutch painting in the nineteenth century, particularly in Germany and France. In this study, Christiane Hertel interprets the suppositions underlying Vermeer's canonization and also addresses the critical problem of locating his paintings in history.
Introduction: reception and interpretation; Part I. Idyll: The German Reception of Dutch Art and Vermeer's Paintings of Social Life: Introduction; 1. Hegel's legacy to German scholarship on seventeenth-century Dutch painting; 2. Vermeer's paintings of social life as 'disturbed idylls'; 3. Temporality and difference: 'The Chinese Hat'; Part II. Fiction: The French Reception of Vermeer and the Modernity of Vermeer's Cityscape: Introduction; 4. French travel literature of the nineteenth-century; 5. Art criticism 1859–1913: the 'Oriental' Vermeer; 6. The modern Vermeer: Marcel Proust's Remembrance of Things Past; 7. Seriality and originality: Vermeer's View of Delft, his 'Identical World' and Dutch painting in Proust's Remembrance of Things Past; 8. 'Fernbild'; Part III. Allegory: The Question of Authority in Vermeer's The Art of Painting and Allegory of Faith: Introduction: 'The Rat and the Snake'; 9. Theories and concepts of allegory; 10. Vermeer's The Art of Painting; 11. Veritas Filia Temporis; 12. Vermeer's Allegory of Faith; Epilogue; Notes; References; Index.