Maria Thins

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Maria Thins (c. 1593 – 27 December 1680) was the mother-in-law of Johannes Vermeer and a member of the Gouda Thins family. [1]

Johannes Vermeer 17th-century Dutch painter

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.

Gouda, South Holland City and municipality in South Holland, Netherlands

Gouda is a city and municipality in the province of South Holland, Netherlands with a population of 72,338. It is famous for its Gouda cheese, stroopwafels, many grachten, smoking pipes, and its 15th-century city hall. Gouda's array of historic churches and other buildings makes it a very popular day trip destination.



Maria was born in Gouda. In 1622 she married Reynier Bolnes, a prominent and prosperous brickmaker. In 1635 the marriage deteriorated; her sister found her crying in bed after her husband had beaten her. The couple moved to another house, where Wouter Crabeth had lived. There Bolnes had his dinner in the front room, together with his son, while he refused to talk to her and slept in a room upstairs. At one time her daughter Cornelia was locked up by her father and in 1641 Maria Thins decided to move to Delft, where her brother lived. Her husband refused to divorce her, but in 1649 she received a considerable sum of money from him.

Delft City and municipality in South Holland, Netherlands

Delft is a city and municipality in the province of South Holland, Netherlands. It is located between Rotterdam, to the southeast, and The Hague, to the northwest. Together with them, it is part of both Rotterdam–The Hague metropolitan area and the Randstad.

Her daughter Cornelia died in 1643. In 1653, Maria Thins' daughter Catharina married Johannes Vermeer in Schipluiden but it is not exactly known when the couple moved in at her rather spacious house on Oude Langendijk. Vermeer had his atelier on the front side of the second floor.

Schipluiden Place in Zuid-Holland, Netherlands

Schipluiden is a village in the western Netherlands, in the province of South Holland. It is the seat of the council of the municipality of Midden-Delfland.

Dirck van Baburen, The Procuress , 1622, oil on canvas, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. The painting was owned by Maria Thins, mother-in-law of Johannes Vermeer, who reproduced it within two of his own paintings. The Procuress.jpg
Dirck van Baburen, The Procuress , 1622, oil on canvas, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. The painting was owned by Maria Thins, mother-in-law of Johannes Vermeer, who reproduced it within two of his own paintings.

Maria Thins apparently played an important role in their life. She was a devotee of the Jesuit order in the nearby Catholic Church, and this seems to have influenced Johannes and Catharina too. Their third son was called Ignatius, after the founder of the Jesuit Order. [3] It is not known if the children were baptized in the Catholic Church, because baptismal records from that period are no longer extant.

Ignatius of Loyola Catholic Saint, founder of the Society of Jesus (the Jesuits)

Saint Ignatius of Loyola was a Spanish Basque Catholic priest and theologian, who co-founded the religious order called the Society of Jesus (Jesuits) and became its first Superior General at Paris in 1541. The Jesuit order served the Pope as missionaries, and they were bound by a vow of special obedience to the sovereign pontiff in regard to the missions. They therefore emerged as an important force during the time of the Counter-Reformation.

In 1664 her son Willem, a jobless bachelor, was locked up in an institution after an argument with his mother, and for attacking his pregnant sister with a stick. In 1665 Maria Thins was entrusted with her son's property. She was not required by law to limit his share to the legal minimum, but she mentioned that he had been calling her names since his youth. [4]

In 1672 Maria Thins got into financial difficulties: her land near Schoonhoven was flooded to prevent the French army crossing the Dutch Water Line. In 1675 Vermeer went on several business trips for his mother-in-law, first to Gouda, when her husband had died, and then to Amsterdam. There Vermeer borrowed money by fraudulently using her name. [5] Shortly thereafter Vermeer suffered what was referred to as a "frenzy", in the words of his wife, from which he died. She attributed this to stress caused by all their financial difficulties. After Vermeer's death, Maria Thins stated that she used her income to help support the struggling painter and his growing family. For her help she received The Art of Painting , one of the finest, most mysterious and famous paintings in the history of Western Art. In 1676 she lived in the Hague but moved back to Delft where, upon her death, she was buried in the Protestant Old Church on 27 December 1680, next to Vermeer and her son Willem. The burial record states that she died as the widow of Rijnier Bolnes. Her daughter Catharina moved to Breda. Catharina Bollenes (Bolnes) received "Holy Oil", according to the records of the Roman Catholic parish of St Joseph, before being buried on 30 December 1687.

Schoonhoven City and former municipality in South Holland, Netherlands

Schoonhoven is a city and former municipality in the western Netherlands, in the province of South Holland. Since 2015 it has been a part of the municipality of Krimpenerwaard.

Dutch Water Line

The Dutch Water Line was a series of water-based defences conceived by Maurice of Nassau in the early 17th century, and realised by his half brother Frederick Henry. Combined with natural bodies of water, the Water Line could be used to transform Holland almost into an island. In the 19th century, the Line was extended to include Utrecht.


The term phrenitis was employed in ancient Greece by Hippocrates and his followers. It refers to acute inflammation of mind and body, not in a theoretical but in a descriptive sense. Its presumed seat was never anatomically or conceptually well determined. The diagnosis was used during the Middle Ages: a mental confusion or continuous delirium with fever.

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  1. In the Great or Saint John Church in Gouda there is a stained glass window donated by her ancestors.
  2. In the catalogue of Essentian Vermeer (click on the woman in black)
  3. Bailey, Anthony, Vermeer: A View of Delft, p. 63. Macmillan, 2002. ISBN   0-8050-6930-5.
  4. J.M. Montias (1989) Vermeer and his milieu, p. 160–169.
  5. J.M. Montias, p. 210–212.