The Sublime in the Everyday: Johannes Vermeer and the Delft School of Painting

– Lesley Primo

This lecture will begin by tracing Vermeer’s origins, his early training and influences, and how he came to the genre of painting domestic interiors. The lecture will look at his earliest known paintings and how he gradually migrated to the genre of domestic set-piece paintings we know him for today. This lecture will also set Vermeer in the context of contemporaneous Dutch artists and contemporaneous Delft artists; tracing the early beginnings of the town of Delft, its rise in prosperity and the low points of the town also. We will see how Vermeer went from being referred to as ‘the excellent and famous Vermeer’ in 1669 to being declared bankrupt towards the end of his life in 1675. How did it all go so wrong, were the signs there at the beginning or was there some great disaster in his life that prompted this financial demise? Finally, the lecture will look at the late 19th century and early 20th century revival of Vermeer that became the cult of Vermeer which endures to this day.

Leslie Primo has a degree in Art History and an MA in Renaissance Studies. He is an accredited Arts Society lecturer, who also lectures at the National Gallery, the National Portrait Gallery and the Courtauld Institute. He teaches a variety of art history courses at various London venues.


Monday 21 September, 2020


11·30 am - 1·00 pm




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