Women in Vermeer's home Mimesis and ideation H. Perry Chapman Johannes Vermeer (1632-1675) is widely regarded as a definer of the Dutch domestic interior at its height in the 1660s. Vet comparison of his oeuvre to those of his contemporaries Pieter de Hooch (1629-1684), Jan Steen (16261679), Gabriel Metsu (1629-1669), Nicolaes Maes (1634-1693), and others, reveals that his pictures of home life are unusual in their omission of what were quickly becoming stock features of the imagery of domesticity. The domestic ideal that flourished in the art ofmid-seventeenth century Holland entailed preparation for marriage, homemaking, housewifery, nurturing, and the virtues of family life, values that were celebrated, too, in popular household manuals of which Jacob Cats' Houwelyck is the best known. 1 But Vermeer painted no families, the stock and trade ofJan Steen, master ofboth the dissolute household (fig. 11) and the harmonious, pious family saying grace. 2 Nor did he paint mothers tending to children in the absence of fathers, a popular theme that increasingly cast the home and child rearing as mothers' moral domain, which was the subject ofsome of the most engaging pictures by Pieter de Hooch, his Delft contemporary (see fig. 17).3 For that
Netherlands Yearbook for History of Art / Nederlands Kunsthistorisch Jaarboek Online – Brill
Published: Jan 1, 2000
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