You’re all wondering how I could write a post on Delft and not make a single mention of one of its most famous residents.
That would be Johannes Vermeer, born in Delft in 1632, died in Delft in 1675. Painted maybe 35 paintings (that we know of), three of which are in the Frick in New York. (I still can’t believe that one collector got his hands on 8 percent of Vermeer’s oeuvre.)
If you’re a fan of Vermeer’s work, you might want to start your day in Delft at the Vermeer Centrum. It’s a small museum dedicated to his life and work.
One particularly innovative display allows you to put yourself in his studio, as if you were the subject of one of his paintings.
Be sure to ask at the front entrance for a map of the Vermeer Trail. It’s a self-guided walking tour of all the places in Delft significant to the life of Vermeer.
Including this street scene, supposedly the setting of The Little Street. My friend and I concluded it was a bit of a stretch — if it was the setting, both of the houses on either side have been completely rebuilt. (On the other hand, not far from this street is the street where my friend’s father was born and where he claimed The Little Street had been painted.)
One site there is no argument about is where Vermeer was buried. That would be in the Oude Kerk (Old Church). Here’s the memorial stone.
The painting (and book and film) that has renewed interest in Vermeer and his work is The Girl With a Pearl Earring. The shops in Delft are not above exploiting the painting’s popularity.
None of Vermeer’s paintings are located in Delft, sadly. For that, you need to go to The Mauritshuis in Den Haag (some 10 kilometres west of Delft) or the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam.
Or the Frick in New York.