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Title The Geographer, Johannes Vermeer
Library Städel Museum
Date 1669
Description The painting depicts a scholar in a housecoat, engrossed in his work: maps, the globe on the cupboard and the dividers in his hand identify him as a geographer. Specialized literature, distributed throughout the room, further emphasises the theoretical foundation of his work: he literally uses a book as a support. Yet he interrupts his rational quantifications and pauses for a moment to gaze at the real world outside his window. The scene thus ultimately serves as a symbol of Vermeer’s own work, which draws from both sources equally – perspectival construction as well as the vivid character of everyday objects as they appear in light and space. The former is based on a precise science, the latter remains the domain of art and is the true reason for the fame of Vermeer’s painting.
Document Type Painting
Primary Commodity Miscellaneous
Theme Exploration and Discovery; Art and Literature
Keywords carpets, colony, commerce, empire, furniture, navigation
Region Europe
Copyright Vermeer van Delft, Städel Museum, Frankfurt am Main, © Städel Museum - ARTOTHEK