Johannes Van der Meer, known as Vermeer, was born in Delft (The Netherlands) on 31 October 1632.
His father was an art dealer and he began his artistic apprenticeship in the late 1640s, focusing on the everyday lives of middle-class households. With his subtle and delicate art, the painter brought a breath of fresh air to the style of the time, playing with light and perspective and using a camera obscura to view his scenes. Vermeer acquired a certain reputation in the art world by joining the Guild of St Luke in Delft in 1653, but he did not make his name as a painter until the 1660s. With only some forty identified pictures, the painter was not among the most prolific, taking around six months to complete a canvas. Following a severe economic crisis, he did not receive any more commissions and his business as an art dealer was in jeopardy; he was forced to borrow one thousand florins to support his family.
Johannes Vermeer died in Delft on 15 December 1675, leaving his family in poverty.