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Vermeer and the Art of Painting Hardcover – June 28, 1995
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Top customer reviews
If one wants perspective on 17th-century Delft and the art of that era which influenced Vermeer, and on Vermeer's chronology (to the extent it's known), the NGA book presents this much better in it's initial series of essays by experts than does "Vermeer and the Art of Painting". If one wants large, high-quality color plates of all 36 of Vermeer's attributed paintings with analysis of each, the NGA book is far superior (with detailed, multi-page analysis of each of the 23 paintings that were in the exhibit, and lesser discussion in the essays of the 13 that weren't). By comparison, "Art of Painting" covers only 16 of his works in detail (but does show all 36 in black and white, without discussion, in its catalogue at the end).
The title of this book (".. and the Art of Painting") suggests that this book gets more into the technical aspects of Vermeer's style and method, of interest to more serious students of Vermeer. And, in fact, for the 16 paintings covered in detail in this book, the discussion of Vermeer's style and method does get a bit more technical than in the corresponding detailed multi-page write-ups in the NGA book (although the NGA book by no means ignores these technical issues).
In summary, if you want to establish an exhaustive library on Vermeer, this book will offer some incremental additional technical information on SOME of his paintings, beyond what is in the NGA volume. However, for readers who are looking for the single best definitive volume on Vermeer at reasonable cost, the comprehensive NGA book is the best choice, hands down. In no case would the "Art of Painting" be a suitable SUBSTITUTE for the NGA volume.
I don't think you could fault the author's background research on Vemeer and his work, but I wouldn't recommend this book to any artist or student trying to discover Vermeer's actual painting methods.