Counting Vermeer


Counting Vermeer: Using Weave Maps to Study Vermeer's Canvases

Edited by C. Richard Johnson, Jr. and William A. Sethares

Counting Vermeer features digital-image-processing-based tools developed in the past ten years for scientific examination of paintings on woven fabric. During this decade the use of digital image processing in painting analysis has progressed from a rarity to a pillar of digital art history. Automated thread counters, developed in 2007, provided the foundation for the creation of weave maps that visualize thread density and thread angle patterns.

This book is the first to describe the impact of the use of these new tools in the analysis of the complete oeuvre of a renowned Old Master painter, in this case the 34 paintings on canvas by Johannes Vermeer. A significant benefit of the use of weave maps is their assistance in ascertaining whether canvas supports of separate paintings were taken from the same bolt of canvas. Consequently, weave maps are an extremely useful tool for assessing questions of dating, pendant relationships, and authenticity. Counting Vermeer demonstrates the ways in which the study of weave maps has helped inform our understanding of a number of paintings by Vermeer.

With contributions by: Michiel Franken, C. Richard Johnson, Jr, Petria Noble, William A. Sethares, Chris Stolwijk, Ige Verslype,  Sytske Weidema and Arthur K. Wheelock, Jr.
Final editing by: Sytske Weidema and Patrick Larsen

This monograph on Vermeer's canvas is dedicated to
Madlyn Millner Kahr (1913-2004) & Walter Arthur Liedtke, Jr. (1946-2015)

The Hague, October 2017
Reissued 23 September 2020


Cover image
Girl with the Pearl Earring, ca. 1665
Mauritshuis, The Hague
merged image of photo in normal light and X-radiograph

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