Inspired by Vermeer

I’m just having so much fun discovering the immense influence of Vermeer on his posterior that I must post some more.  Here are a few interesting samples that I’ve found.

Holland has long been renowned for its natural light, and Vermeer has long been credited with his keen sensitivity in capturing that.  Here’s his View of Delft (ca. 1660),  which Marcel Proust called “the most beautiful painting in the world”:

Vermeer View of Delft

Visiting the Netherlands in 1886, Claude Monet adopted Vermeer’s point of view in observing the light of Holland in his painting of tulip fields and a farmhouse near Leiden:

Monet Tulip Fields near Leiden, Netherlands


Look at this famous Vermeer painting entitled Woman in Blue (ca. 1663):

Vermeer Woman in Blue

Van Gogh commented in 1888 on the exquisite artistry of Vermeer’s colors in the painting, “…blue, lemon-yellow, pearl-gray, black and white… the whole gamut of colors.”   He must have really liked Vermeer’s palette:

Van Gogh Self Portrait at Easel


Vermeer loved his subjects by the window.  Here’s another well known painting Girl Reading A Letter At An Open Window (1658), and below, Salvador Dali’s parody, homage, to Vermeer’s signature pose entitled Disappearing Image (1938).  Like Hitchcock, Dali liked to put himself in the picture:

Vermeer Girl Reading A Letter By The Window

Dali The Image Disappears

Tom Hunter Woman Reading A Possession Order

Now here’s a more contemporary example.  UK artist Tom Hunter, the first photographer to have a one-man show at the National Gallery of London, won the Kobal Photographic Portrait Award in 1998 with this poignant picture of a squatter, entitled Woman Reading a Possession Letter:

How about this from American realist painter Edward Hopper, Morning Sun (1952):

Edward Hopper Morning Sun

(For more Edward Hopper, Click Here.)


Director Peter Weir has created some ‘Vermeer scenes’ in his highly acclaimed 1985 movie ‘Witness’, with Harrison Ford and Kelly McGillis.  I can’t find pictures of the scene where the young Amish woman Rachel Lapp (McGillis) tending the wounded detective John Book (Ford) in the attic of her Amish house.  That is signature Vermeer.  But this one by the window can give you a glimpse.  Look at the contrast between the light and shadow on the two characters, the innocent and cloistered Rachel Lapp and the street-smart and gun wielding John Book:

Witness Harrison Ford and Kelly McGillis


And last but not least, Vermeer’s inspiration on modern packaging and product design.  Click here to read more about it.

Vermeer inspired Dutch Chocolate Cream Liquer


Related Posts:

Vermeer in Vancouver: Noticing the Obvious

Girl With A Pearl Earring

Edward Hopper, William Safire: The Visual and the Word.

Arles: In the Steps of Van Gogh

The Letters of Van Gogh


Sources and links:  All Vermeer paintings, Click here to go to Essential VermeerClick here to Tom Hunter Website. Click here to Webmuseum for Edward Hopper. Click here to Van Gogh Gallery. Click here to Metmuseum for Monet’s Tulip Fields near Leiden.

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If she’s not birding by the Pond, Arti’s likely watching a movie, reading, or writing a review. Creator of Ripple Effects, bylines in Asian American Press, Vague Visages, Curator Magazine.

12 thoughts on “Inspired by Vermeer”

  1. I love discovering relationships among artists – love the little imitations, the references, the side-long glances – so this is one of my favorites ever here at Ripple Effects!

    I would enjoy sitting down with Marcel Proust and having a little discussion about that view of Delft. Personally, I think his description of it as the most beautiful painting in the world is a little over the top, but I’d be interested in knowing his rationale.

    As for the Dali – perception is everything! It’s fun, and wonderfully creative. Even better, it’s accessible, which much Dali just isn’t.

    I’ll bet you know my favorite, though – Tom Hunter. I just spent a full hour following links into his galleries and beyond. I’m fascinated by the images of his East London neighborhood. In some series, the rooms in which people are photographed seem metaphors for urban life: crowded, chaotic, full of poignant attempts at normalcy. In others, like that of the woman reading the possession letter, the title provides the context and the depth of emotion. Despite the serenity of the scene, I can feel her panic rising. It’s a magnificent photo.

    All of us are profiting mightily from your sojourn in Vancouver. If we were playing a game of venery (remember “an exaltation of larks?) I think I have just the term for your Vermeer posts – a chiaroscuro of blogs!


    1. Linda,

      I admit I’ve to hit the dictionary for that word, you know which one… yes, chiaroscuro. I’m no artist, just a learner. And it’s exciting to discover new facts and insights everyday, often from readers’ comments on my posts. I’m glad you like what’s presented here. And yes, I could guess who’s your favorite. Mine too, and Hopper also. I’d say Edward Hopper’s realist paintings are compatible with Tom Hunter’s realist photography. I’ve posted Hopper’s Nighthawks on my April 16 post, it’s one of his most famous. His paintings depict the loneliness and alienation of urban life in the early 20th century. My favorite is ‘Automat’.

      The ‘sojourn’ indeed has been beneficial to me personally in various aspects… didn’t realize it could have stirred up some ripples after I’m back. I’m encouraged to know you’ve followed some links and discovered still some more following your interests. Thanks again for your kind words and sharing your insights.



      1. The mind is a weird thing. I woke up this morning remembering your reference to Hopper’s “Automat”, and that I’d meant to comment on it.

        I actually visited an automat during my first trip to NYC. There was something magical about it – all those little doors with food behind them. I just went link hopping and discovered the first one was opened in 1902. I do remember I had some lemon pie and coffee, but I don’t remember how much it cost or whether it was good. On the other hand, those little doors are as vivid as can be!


      2. Linda,

        It’s just so encouraging to have readers like you who dwell on what they read, even subconsciously. Guess it’s a part of ‘slow blog-reading’. Thanks for the background on the automat… like the drive-in theatre, it represents a certain era of history that’s no more.

        I’ve never seen an automat, but some years ago when I was visiting Japan, I saw they had all sorts of vending machines on the streets, selling items from food to panty hose. Anyway, what caught my attention with Hopper’s painting is the aloneness of the girl. I try to avoid the word ‘loneliness’, because that’s speculation. But that she is by herself, at some odd hours, in the automat, a ‘personless’ food establishment, could well be the painter’s view of modern society.

        Thanks for your returning comment!


  2. Wow! What a neat post. I love exploring the relationships between visual artists. I do this with literary texts when I teach the literary history survey, but it’s harder to get students to see the relationships with text. I should try to use more artists….


    1. writinggb,

      Thanks for stopping by… good to have you back. The comparison could be ‘inter-textual’, from visual to literary, or literary to film… That’s been my interest on this blog as you can see. As for Vermeer, I’m just amazed that his works still speak… the 1995 – 96 Smithsonian Exhibition is the definitive V. influence in North America, with 21 of his paintings. Too bad this time I only got to see one in Vancouver. Thanks for your comment!



  3. Linda and I were talking inter-commenting about this the other day – the rivulets that lead out of each line of writing in a blog post, that you could follow and follow ad infinitum. It really is wonderful.

    I loved the connections here, just fills me up to go from one to the next. I do love Hopper. One of my favorite sketches ever – Night on a Train with a couple bent together in a corner.

    And chiaroscuro – I never knew this word before my photoblogging friend Alek told me one of my photographs was that. Isn’t it fun to just keep learning?

    I especially loved the scene in “Girl with a Pearl Earring” in which Griet opens the windows in this studio room while Vermeer’s wife and child look on. They did a terrific job attending to those windows in set design and production.

    Thank you, I loved every bit of this!


    1. Ruth,

      You really should get hold of the DVD. In the special feature, they interview all the behind the scene people. They reconstructed every single detail, particularly the windows, to look exactly like V’s house, as seen in his paintings. Even the costumes… you can see the characters wearing them that simulate the subjects in his works. Anyway, I thnk I’m done with V. for a while, and now to Hopper and Hunter that I’d like to find out more.

      Your Paris blog is just lovely… will stop by there to explore more. Thanks for coming over here.



  4. I am really enjoying these Vermeer posts, which are pulling me further into appreciation. But I do confess that Hopper is a fave of mine. Glad to see him here, too. These are great.

    oh, thanks for stopping by and I’m glad you’ve enjoyed these posts. It seems that Hopper is a fave among many. Thanks for sharing!



  5. I’m so glad you steered me back to a post done before I discovered you! It’s great fun to see the ‘tributes” or inspirations. Seeing the picture of the woman in the window reminds me of something. Long ago, my aunt and uncle had a print of that in their house. They later gave it to my parents who had it for a long while, until the estate sale when my dad sold the house. I would make up stories about it, what was in the letter, all that. But I never knew it was Vermeer till my art history classes in college! I still smile when I see it! I love the Van Gogh, Hopper, Monet and yes, the Dali, but my favorite is Tom Hunter. I think I need to search out more of his work!


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