OIL PAINTING: The Geographer, c.1668
Vermeer did not live off his painting: a fairly fortunate family, a patron buying canvases from him and lending him money, his business as an art dealer finally enabled him to restrict his production to two or three
works a year and to have complete freedom to choose his subjects, whether it be scenes of domesticity or study, such as "The Geographer". Such was not the situation for most Dutch artists who sold their pictures at fairs, at public buildings
or from their studio, pictures which were valued according to their size, theme and the manner in which it was painted: thus a painting with figures was more expensive than a still life or landscape since it required
more time and effort.