Painters' Palettes: Vermeer

The Allegory of Painting by Johannes Vermeer

Studies of paintings by Johannes Vermeer show that he liked to work on a coloured ground.

Analysis of the paint layers show a commercial coloured gesso – probably applied by the canvas manufacturer – and then a another layer of a more subtle colour – probably applied by Vermeer himself. He also used a lot of Ultramarine – a particularly expensive pigment at that time – as well as more common pigments such as Terre Vert and Earth Red.