|View of Delft|
|Dutch: Gezicht op Delft|
|Medium||Oil on canvas|
|Dimensions||96.5 cm× 115.7 cm(38.0 in× 45.6 in)|
|Location||Mauritshuis, The Hague|
View of Delft (Dutch : Gezicht op Delft) is an oil painting by Johannes Vermeer, painted ca. 1660–1661. The painting of the Dutch artist's hometown is among his most popular, painted at a time when cityscapes were uncommon. It is one of three known paintings of Delft by Vermeer, along with The Little Street and the lost painting House Standing in Delft. The use of pointillism in the work suggests that it postdates The Little Street, and the absence of bells in the tower of the New Church dates it to 1660–1661. Vermeer's View of Delft has been held in the Dutch Royal Cabinet of Paintings at the Mauritshuis in The Hague since its establishment in 1822.
The landscape was painted from an elevated position to the southeast of Delft, possibly the upper floor of a house on the quayside across the river Schie. The artist is looking back to the city to the northwest, with the Schiedam Gatein the middle of the composition, and the Rotterdam Gate and its barbican to the right, all reflected in the water of the harbour created in 1616–1620. Behind the Schiedam Gate is the long red-roofed arsenal (the Armamentarium).
It is a morning scene, with the sun to the east (viewer's right) illuminating the Protestant Nieuwe Kerk ("New Church", right of centre) before its bells were replaced in 1660. The New Church in Delft is the burial place of William the Silent and other members of the House of Orange-Nassau.
To the left is the tower the "De Papegaey" (Parrot) brewery (since demolished) and, to its left, the top of the tower of the Oude Kerk ("Old Church"). Some barges are drawn up on the quayside, with a few people passing by. The top half of the painting is dominated by a cloudy sky, with a dark cloud suggesting a rain shower has just passsed.
It is believed that Vermeer created this painting using an optical device—possibly a camera obscura, or a telescope—to capture the detail.
The technical analysisshows that Vermeer used a limited choice of pigments for this painting: calcite, lead white, yellow ochre, natural ultramarine and madder lake are the main painting materials. His painting technique, on the other hand, is very elaborate and meticulous.
The painting may have been bought by Pieter van Ruijven and inherited by his daughter Magdalena. It is known to have passed through the collection of her husband Jacob Dissius. It was auctioned in 1822, and bought for 2,900 guilders for the new Dutch Royal Cabinet of Paintings established at the Mauritshuis.
The painting features in Marcel Proust's novel In Search of Lost Time , in the death scene of the writer Bergotte in The Captive. Bergotte takes inspiration from Vermeer's technique: "That's how I ought to have written.... My last books are too dry, I ought to have...made my language precious in itself, like this little patch of yellow wall." Proust himself greatly admired Vermeer, particularly this painting. When seeing the work for the first time, Proust is quoted as saying:
Ever since I saw the View of Delft in the museum in The Hague, I have known that I had seen the most beautiful painting in the world.
In 2011, the painting was featured on gold and silver commemorative coins issued by the Royal Dutch Mint.