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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

Vermeer could not have anticipated that The Girl with a Pearl Earringwould make him a pop culture icon. This oversized art book paints a wide-ranging critical and historical portrait. Vermeer completed only 30-some paintings, which are beautifully reproduced in plates that celebrate every facet of these marvelous works. Other illustrations develop a rich context for the paintings, complementing three notable essays (following a brief introduction by the late French artist Aillaud). Blankert, a Vermeer expert at Utrecht University in the Netherlands, serves as eloquent docent in two essays, plus a catalogue that documents provenance to the present day. Montias, an expert in 17th-century Dutch politics and economics who died in 2005, combs the scarce records of 16th- and 17th-century Delft to conjure Vermeer's environment, drawing on primary documents-from marriage certificates to house inventories listing objects that often appear in paintings (also listed in a full appendix). Unlike many, neither Blankert nor Montias see Vermeer as a "neglected genius": he did well enough in his lifetime-or would have, if he hadn't had so many children and nefarious relatives. But as they do show, the artist's star rose through the 18th century, and the scholars, updating their 1978 British edition of this work, bring the story up to the present. 164 color and 35 b&w illus. (Oct.)

Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
Library Journal
Reproducing in good color all 31 known paintings of the Dutch master Johannes Vermeer (1632-1675), this sumptuous and scholarly book offers rich comparative material in its summaries of earlier histories, documents, and publications. The nine sections by five different authors are effectively coordinated, situating the artist in his time and place--Delft, a city in the young Dutch republic. Originally published in French in 1986, this well-organized, readable book is the best thing on Vermeer in print for both general reader and scholar. Highly recommended for all collections.-- Jack Perry Brown, Ryerson and Burnham Lib., Art Inst. of Chicago
Library Journal

The works of 17th-century Dutch painter Johannes Vermeer have been much discussed and debated since their rediscovery in the 19th century. Here, two Vermeer scholars (Blankert and the late John Michael Montias) and a French artist (Gilles Aillaud) update and revise the text of a book originally published in Holland in 1975. In the four essays accessible to the nonspecialist and examining Vermeer's life and work, topics under discussion are preceded by clearly defined headlines. Full-color illustrations appear throughout. The essay "Vermeer and His Public" disputes the notion that Vermeer was a "neglected genius" in his lifetime. Other sections include a complete catalog with full provenance and color thumbnail reproductions of each of Vermeer's paintings; a full listing of all known documents pertaining to Vermeer and his family; a "Critical Anthology" consisting of excerpts from 19th- and 20th-century writings by, e.g., Marcel Proust referencing the artist; and a traditional chronology. The comprehensive inclusion of all the basic particulars related to the artist and his paintings gives the work extensive reference value. It can be pleasantly read cover to cover by art lovers, art students, and specialists alike. Highly recommended for most art book collections.
—Ellen Bates

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781585679799
  • Publisher: Overlook Hardcover
  • Publication date: 10/4/2007
  • Pages: 352
  • Sales rank: 701,175
  • Product dimensions: 10.56 (w) x 12.45 (h) x 1.15 (d)

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