Johannes (or Jan) Vermeer is now recognized as one of the great Dutch painters, but while he was alive he could barely make ends meet, and his artistic achievement was almost entirely ignored for 200 years after his death. Little is known about his personal life, other than he died poor and young and left behind a wife and eleven children. Vermeer is admired for his realistic style, his subtle use of color and light and his unusual and inventive brush technique, but fewer than forty of his paintings exist. His most famous works include domestic scenes such as Girl With a Peal Earring (1665) and The Music Lesson (1662-65), and tranquil landscapes such as The Little Street (1657-58) and View of Delft (1659-60).
Although his actual birth and death dates are unknown, Vermeer was baptized 31 October 1632 and buried 15 December 1675... During his career he used the names Johannes van der Meer, Johannes Vermeer and Jan Vermeer... He was played by actor Colin Firth in the 2003 film Girl With A Pearl Earring, which also starred Scarlett Johansson as the girl.