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View of Delft

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Johannes Vermeer, who lived and worked in Delft all his life, painted Het Straatje and this large cityscape of Delft. This painting is the most famous cityscape from the 17th century in the Netherlands. The way light and shadow come together, the imposing cloudy sky and the subtle reflections on the water lift this work to the level of an absolute masterpiece.

Vermeer painted "View of Delft" (ca. 1661) from the quay on the other side of the Schie, probably using a camera obscura. The painting offers a window-like view of the Schiedamse Poort in the center and the Rotterdamse Poort on the right, reflected in the water of the Stadskolk, a harbor that was excavated between 1616 and 1620. The rendering is extremely realistic, with the red roof tiles and masonry that looks as if it has just been soaked by rain. Dark clouds develop in the foreground, while the city is still bathed in sunlight. These clouds are reflected in the calm water. In the foreground are a moored barge and several women dressed in both peasant and city clothes. The canal along the Schie, which was only constructed in 1655, was a modern addition. It is early in the morning, considering the sun is in the east. The light plays beautifully over the roofs of the houses along the Lange Geer and draws attention to the tower of the Nieuwe Kerk.
The painting can be seen in the Mauritshuis in The Hague.

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