When I viewed this painting, The Astronomer, at the Louvre in Paris, I was surprised at how small it was, only 19 3/8" x 17 3/4" (50 x 45 cm). For some reason, I always assumed Vermeer's paintings were as large as his iconically-large reputation.
This painting captures the mood of the Baroque era with its incredible detail and rich subject matter by incorporating paintings on the wall, rich clothing, and books on the desk. Vermeer has brought in these props to show the subject is a man of wealth.
The magic of so many of Vermeer's paintings is the light coming from the only window, leading the viewer's eye straight to the subject, as the scene is set in an otherwise dark . . .Comment on or Share this Article →
I have loved to draw all my life. Even as a little girl, when my brothers and sister were away doing something else, I always chose to amuse myself with paper and pencil -- drawing horses, dresses, people. All my life I had only used pencil and was comfortable with that. I was reticent about getting into color because pencil was so convenient, and color seemed daunting because of all the considerations that came with color that I never had to think about with pencil.
I've always loved drawing faces and realized it was time to go further than just pencil . . .