Balthasar de Monconys (1611–1665) was a French traveller, diplomat, physicist and magistrate, who left a diary, which was published by his son as Journal des voyages de Monsieur de Monconys, Conseiller du Roy en ses Conseils d’Estat & Privé, & Lieutenant Criminel au Siège Presidial de Lyon, 2 vols., Lyon, 1665-1666.
France, officially the French Republic, is a country whose territory consists of metropolitan France in Western Europe and several overseas regions and territories. The metropolitan area of France extends from the Mediterranean Sea to the English Channel and the North Sea, and from the Rhine to the Atlantic Ocean. It is bordered by Belgium, Luxembourg and Germany to the northeast, Switzerland and Italy to the east, and Andorra and Spain to the south. The overseas territories include French Guiana in South America and several islands in the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian oceans. The country's 18 integral regions span a combined area of 643,801 square kilometres (248,573 sq mi) and a total population of 67.3 million. France, a sovereign state, is a unitary semi-presidential republic with its capital in Paris, the country's largest city and main cultural and commercial centre. Other major urban areas include Lyon, Marseille, Toulouse, Bordeaux, Lille and Nice.
A diplomat is a person appointed by a state to conduct diplomacy with one or more other states or international organizations. The main functions of diplomats are: representation and protection of the interests and nationals of the sending state; initiation and facilitation of strategic agreements; treaties and conventions; promotion of information; trade and commerce; technology; and friendly relations. Seasoned diplomats of international repute are used in international organizations as well as multinational companies for their experience in management and negotiating skills. Diplomats are members of foreign services and diplomatic corps of various nations of the world.
A physicist is a scientist who specializes in the field of physics, which encompasses the interactions of matter and energy at all length and time scales in the physical universe. Physicists generally are interested in the root or ultimate causes of phenomena, and usually frame their understanding in mathematical terms. Physicists work across a wide range of research fields, spanning all length scales: from sub-atomic and particle physics, through biological physics, to cosmological length scales encompassing the universe as a whole. The field generally includes two types of physicists: experimental physicists who specialize in the observation of physical phenomena and the analysis of experiments, and theoretical physicists who specialize in mathematical modeling of physical systems to rationalize, explain and predict natural phenomena. Physicists can apply their knowledge towards solving practical problems or to developing new technologies.
Monconys, brought up in Lyon by the Jesuits and a good Catholic, had an interest in the Jesuit missions in infidel territory. He travelled to Portugal, England, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands and the Near East (visiting Baalbek in 1647). Monconys twice paid a visit to Delft to satisfy his curiosity about another hidden church and to meet an artist with a growing reputation.He was the only person, besides Pieter Teding van Berckhout, who met Vermeer, on 11 August 1663, and wrote down an eyewitness account of Vermeer's paintings, during the artist's lifetime. Vermeer had no paintings to show him and Monconys and his companion, a clergyman from The Hague, were directed to the local baker Hendrick van Buyten, who possessed one of the artist's paintings. Monconys also visited Johannes Sibertus Kuffler in the same year.
Lyon is the third-largest city and second-largest urban area of France. It is located in the country's east-central part at the confluence of the rivers Rhône and Saône, about 470 km (292 mi) south from Paris, 320 km (199 mi) north from Marseille and 56 km (35 mi) northeast from Saint-Étienne. Inhabitants of the city are called Lyonnais.
Baalbek, properly Baʿalbek and also known as Balbec, Baalbec or Baalbeck, is a city between the Eastern Mountain Ranges of Lebanon and the Western Mountain ranges of Lebanon. Located East of the Litani River in Lebanon's Beqaa Valley, about 85 km (53 mi) northeast of Beirut. The capital of Baalbek-Hermel Governorate, Baalbek has a population of approximately 82,608, mostly Shia Muslims, followed by Sunni Muslims and Christians. It is home to the annual Baalbeck International Festival.
The Hague is a city on the western coast of the Netherlands and the capital of the province of South Holland. It is also the seat of government of the Netherlands.
1666 (MDCLXVI) was a common year starting on Friday of the Gregorian calendar and a common year starting on Monday of the Julian calendar, the 1666th year of the Common Era (CE) and Anno Domini (AD) designations, the 666th year of the 2nd millennium, the 66th year of the 17th century, and the 7th year of the 1660s decade. As of the start of 1666, the Gregorian calendar was 10 days ahead of the Julian calendar, which remained in localized use until 1923. This is the first year to be designated as an Annus mirabilis, in John Dryden's 1667 poem so titled, celebrating England's failure to be beaten either by the Dutch or by fire. It is the only year to contain each Roman numeral once in descending order.
Johannes Vermeer was a Dutch Baroque Period painter who specialized in domestic interior scenes of middle-class life. He was a moderately successful provincial genre painter in his lifetime but evidently was not wealthy, leaving his wife and children in debt at his death, perhaps because he produced relatively few paintings.
Baroque painting is the painting associated with the Baroque cultural movement. The movement is often identified with Absolutism, the Counter Reformation and Catholic Revival, but the existence of important Baroque art and architecture in non-absolutist and Protestant states throughout Western Europe underscores its widespread popularity.
Jean de Thévenot was a French traveller in the East, who wrote extensively about his journeys. He was also a linguist, natural scientist and botanist.
Pieter de Hooch was a Dutch Golden Age painter famous for his genre works of quiet domestic scenes with an open doorway. He was a contemporary of Jan Vermeer in the Delft Guild of St. Luke, with whom his work shares themes and style.
Jean Chardin, born Jean-Baptiste Chardin, and also known as Sir John Chardin, was a French jeweller and traveller whose ten-volume book The Travels of Sir John Chardin is regarded as one of the finest works of early Western scholarship on Persia and the Near East in general.
Jacob Spon was a French doctor and archaeologist, was a pioneer in the exploration of the monuments of Greece and a scholar of international reputation in the developing "Republic of Letters".
The Art of Painting, also known as The Allegory of Painting, or Painter in his Studio, is a 17th-century oil on canvas painting by Dutch painter Johannes Vermeer. It is owned by the Austrian Republic and is on display in the Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna.
Girl with a Pearl Earring is an oil painting by Dutch Golden Age painter Johannes Vermeer, dated c. 1665. Going by various names over the centuries, it became known by its present title towards the end of the 20th century after the large pearl earring worn by the girl portrayed there. The work has been in the collection of the Mauritshuis in The Hague since 1902 and has been the subject of various literary treatments. In 2006, the Dutch public selected it as the most beautiful painting in the Netherlands.
Samuel Chappuzeau was a French scholar, author, poet and playwright whose best-known work today is Le Théâtre François, a description of French Theatre in the seventeenth century.
The Mutus Liber, or Mute Book, is a Hermetic philosophical work published in La Rochelle in 1677. It ranks amongst the major books on alchemy in Early Modern literature, just as much as does Atalanta Fugiens by Michael Maier. It has been reprinted numerous times.
Étienne-Joseph-Théophile Thoré was a French journalist and art critic. He is best known today for his rediscovery of the work of painter Johannes Vermeer.
Hendrick van Buyten was a baker in Delft. He is famous because of his connection to Johannes Vermeer. In August 1663 he owned a painting by Vermeer when he was visited by Balthasar de Monconys. Van Buyten told the diplomat, accompanied by two friends, he had paid 600 guilders (?) for the painting. Monconys opined that he would have thought he had overpaid for it had he bought it for sixty guilders.
Francisco Combés was a Spanish priest who established Christian monasteries in the Philippines in the 17th century.
Girl with a Red Hat is a rather small painting, signed by the Dutch painter Johannes Vermeer. It is seen as one of a number of Vermeer's tronies – depictions of models fancifully dressed that were not intended to be portraits of specific, identifiable subjects. Others believe it is a portrait. Whether Vermeer chose family members as models or found them elsewhere in Delft is irrelevant to the appreciation of his paintings. Its attribution to Vermeer – as it is on a (recycled) wood panel and not on canvas – has been a matter of controversy with scholars on both sides of the argument.
Jan Vermeer van Utrecht was a Dutch Golden Age painter. Though he was born near Delft, there is no known relation between this painter and Johannes Vermeer.
Claude Bonnefond, or Jean-Claude Bonnefond was a French painter and lithographer; noted for his portrayals of peasant life. His work was heavily influenced by a visit to Italy.
Jan-Baptist Huysmans or Jean Baptiste Huysmans, was a Belgian painter known for his Orientalist scenes. He led a peripatetic life style and travelled and worked in many countries.
Hendrick Sorgh was a broker and art collector in Amsterdam.
Heinrich August Ottokar Reichard (1751-1828) was a German author and theatre director. He was born in Gotha.
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