Contest Directions: October 31 is famous not just as Halloween day, it is also the birthday of Jan Vermeer - one of the greatest artists of the Dutch Golden Age - the author of "Girl with a Pearl Earring", "Milkmaid", "A Lady Writing a Letter", "The Astronomer", and numerous paintings of domestic ordinary life.
Sadly, great fame came to Vermeer's paintings long after his death. Today is Vermeer's 380th birthday.
In this contest you are asked to show how works by Jan Vermeer would look if he created them these days. Show his modernized work created simply for art (celebrity portraits, etc.), or for commercial purposes (advertising, political campaigns, etc.). These are just some ideas.
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This contest is fueled by the following news: Vermeer painted mostly for his wealthy customers-patrons. The main patrons of the artist and admirers of his creativity were baker Dirck van Baburen and Jacob Dissus, owner of a printing workshop. According to the inventory list of 1682, 19 paintings of Vermeer were in their collection. It remains to be unknown whether Vermeer painted for concrete orders from art patrons or they simply acquired the rights for preferred purchases of finished creations by the artist. Vermeer was a popular art expert. So, for example, he was among the experts who were entrusted to establish the authenticity of a collection of Venetian and Roman canvases offered to the Elector of Brandenburg Frederick William I for 30,000 guldens. In 1672, Vermeer went to The Hague, where he gave his conclusion about the cost of paintings along with another artist Jacob Jordeans. In the presence of the notary public, he denied the authenticity of the collection and stated that, in reality, the cost of the collection should not be more than one tenth of the offered price.
Last years of his life:
Towards the end of his life the financial condition of the artist had considerably worsened and he was compelled to borrow money on credit. Art trading died down due to the war with France, which continued from 1672 until 1679. In a petition dated April 30, 1676, for the partial write-off of debts, the wife of Vermeer explained that her husband was forced to sell the paintings at a much lower price due to the war. In 1675, Vermeer fell ill and passed away after few days. On January 15, 1675, Jan Vermeer was buried in a family burial vault in the church Oude Kerk in Delft. His wife refused the legacy and transferred it to his creditors.
Legacy and forgery:
21 paintings of Jan Vermeer appeared in a catalog for auction which took place on May 16, 1696 and today, only 16 out of the 21 are known to the researchers. For a long time, art critics carried out searches for unknown paintings by Vermeer. The huge value of these works was the reason behind the appearance of some successful fakes in the 1930s. The most successful falsifier was Han Van Meegeren - author of several works, sold under Vermeer works (for example, “The Disciples at Emmaus”) including the heads of the Third Reich. As a result, as of today, only 39 or 40 paintings of Vermeer are considered original.
The majority of Vermeer works represent compositions in carefully painted interiors with a small number of figures; some city landscapes also exist. According to contemporaries of Vermeer, the artist used camera obscura for attaining perfection in the creation of his perspective effect.