The Geographer (c. 1668-1669) by Jan Vermeer

The Geographer - Jan Vermeer - c.1668 - c.1669

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Artwork Information

TitleThe Geographer
ArtistJan Vermeer
Datec.1668 - c.1669
MediumOil on Canvas
Dimensions53 x 46.5 cm
Art MovementBaroque
Current LocationStädel, Frankfurt am Main, Germany

About The Geographer

“The Geographer” is a celebrated artwork by Jan Vermeer, crafted circa 1668 – 1669. This oil on canvas masterpiece belongs to the Baroque period and is classified as a genre painting. Measuring 53 by 46.5 centimeters, the artwork gracefully portrays the thoughtful endeavors of a geographer immersed in study. It currently resides in the Städel, which is located in Frankfurt am Main, Germany.

In the artwork, a man is depicted in a pensive pose, leaning over a desk covered with maps or charts. His gaze is directed out the window, suggesting a moment of contemplation or seeking inspiration from the world outside. The room is illuminated by the natural light that pours in from the window, casting shadows and creating a luminous effect on the surfaces around the geographer. A large, richly decorated carpet is draped over the table, underlining the importance of the tasks at hand.

Various instruments indicative of geographical study, such as a globe, a dividers, and books, are carefully arranged in the scene, emphasizing the academic nature of the subject. The careful attention to detail, the harmonious use of light and shadow, and the vivid portrayal of textures demonstrate Vermeer’s skill in creating depth and realism. The man’s attire, with his striking blue robe and red undergarment, adds to the vividness of the scene, with the contrast of colors drawing the viewer’s attention to the figure as the central element of the composition.

Overall, “The Geographer” is notable for its intimate portrayal of intellectual pursuit, the careful play of light, and the vivid rendering of both the character and his immediate surroundings, which together reveal Vermeer’s exceptional skill as a painter of the Dutch Golden Age.

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