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Diego Velasquez and Jan Vermeer were two of the most significant artists of Western Europes Baroque period When I first began this research I envisioned talking only about the many differences in their works I have since learned that they share many things in common In this paper I will use two works of art Velasquez Las Meninas The Ladies in Waiting and Vermeers Woman Holding a Balance to illustrate the complex and intriguing styles of these two masters I will discuss how religion and politics played a role in each of the artists lives and how one was famous in his own time while the other was lost in obscurity until only a century ago Although both artists are appropriately categorized as Baroque I will argue that the lesser known Vermeer displayed more innovation and greater realism Diego de Silva Velasquez was born in 1599 in Seville Spain as a Catholic1 Jan Vermeer was born thirty-three years later Delft Netherlands as a Calvinist but later converted to the Catholic religion when he married Catharina Bolnes whose mother was Catholic The mother had opposed this marriage until Vermeer converted2 Further evidence of Vermeers conversion is shown by his early work Saint Praxedis a second-century Roman Christian This was based on the Florentine artist Felice Ficherelli whose painting of the same name was done in 16453 Both artists studied under master painters Velasquez under Francisco Pacheco was admitted to the Seville Painters Guild in 1617 and a year later married Pachecos daughter Juana4 Vermeers training is less clear There are several possibilities given including Hendrik ter Brugghen in Utrecht where Vermeers mother-in-law had family connections5 Vermeer may have studied under another master artist Abraham Bloemart also in Utrecht Vermeers early work closely matched Bloemarts style and Bloemart was related to Catharina Bolnes then Vermeers future wife What is known is that
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