|TELLING A STORY -- THE MYSTERY OF
Little Street - ca. 1658
The Letter - 1666
In 1866, a French aristocrat and art historian named Theophile Thoré stumbled upon a small painting of an interior
scene typical of the old Dutch genre -- but executed with a profound clarity and mastery that stunned him. Who was
this artist "Vermeer" who had signed the painting? How had knowledge of this master been lost to the world for so
long? A person of such immense talent could not have created only one miraculous painting -- there had to be
more! Thoré spent much of the rest of his life searching for other paintings by this mysterious artist, the "Sphinx of
Delft" as he called him, whose reputation had languished for nearly 200 years.
Mystery surrounds the life and art of Jan (or Johannes) Vermeer. He has been proclaimed one of the greatest
artists of the last three centuries, and yet his life's work numbered probably no more than forty small paintings. He
has influenced and charmed generations of artists and audiences since his rediscovery, but we know nothing
definitive about his own influences. His quiet domestic scenes, though set in a time long ago, seem somehow
timeless and familiar. Still, we know little about the man himself but what we can guess from his art.
In his beautiful paintings The Letter and Little Street, the artist offers us a glimpse into his world, and sets a stage
for our imaginations. In this session of GalleryTime, we explore the mystery of Jan Vermeer.
Little Street The Letter