Subject Matter Mostly genre, interiors-two town scapes, one mythological, one religious subject. Religious, three genre.
Color Characteristic luminous colors, brick, terra-cotta reds, contrasts of yellow and
blue, whites, greens and brown.
Same color range but lacking in luminosity.
Value Contrast Subtle gradations, sensitively studied, consistent light source. Use of glazing to produce bright, luminous shadows. Relatively unsubtle gradations- tendency toward stereotyped and repetitive shading(mostly on right side of faces). No glazing.
Texture Full exploitation of texture, often taking advantage of paired textures, e.g., basketry-polished metal, terra cotta-stream of milk. Unnaturally smooth, featureless surfaces differentiated only by color.
Composition & Space Clear cut, easily comprehended space. Compositions are built up of interlocking geometric forms which are interestingly organized in space. Congested, compressed, and difficult to understand. Compositions are primarily symmetrical. Congested arrangements of figures recurs.
Accuracy There is a quality of immediacy, accuracy, and palpability which gives the paintings a nearly hallucinatory quality. The qualities listed for Vermeer are absent in van Meegeren's fakes.
Human Anatomy Accurate, tendency toward treating hands
in a generalized fashion.
Increasing simplification and perfection.
Downward glance appears early and is said
to turn human figures into still life objects.
Little understanding of anatomy, but quite detailed hands.
This is a late feature of Vermeer. It is aimed at, but not achieved by van Meegeren. Enlarged heads, giving a falsely dramatic effect.
Still Life Objects Rich assemblage of seventeenth century furniture, rugs, and decorative objects. All treated with loving detail but in keeping
the rest of the setting.
A few genuine seventeenth century objects are used as trappings. They compete with the rest of the image because they are observed from reality while the rest is generalized.
Atmosphere Much has been said about the unique
quality of Vermeer's paintings-their
serenity in particular. The things singled
out for attention are things which interest the critic for some rather specific reason relating to the critic's view of reality.
There is nothing mysterious or subtle about the forgeries that would evoke the rick interpretive literature available on Vermeer. The Stylistic flaws and superficial treatment of momentous themes prevents further appreciation.