From the late-nineteenth century onwards visual abstract or formal qualities were increasingly emphasized, analyzed and finally isolated by painters.
Visual abstraction is not merely an aesthetic quest; it is a biological necessity.
"The curriculum of the Accademia di San Luca was, as least as far as technique is concerned, designed to combat the abhorrent practices followed by Caravaggio (1571–1610) and the Bamboccianti, painting technique.
The academy's training programme included instruction in perspective, foreshortening and anatomy, and it stressed imitation of the Antique, by way of drawing from ancient sculpture or plaster casts." Academics held that since art was a scientific and intellectual pursuit, and not a craft, art instruction should be systematic.
Drawing was considered to be the essential requirement for painting.
However, the true broadness in Vermeer's rendering is adequately appreciable only when his paintings are compared to analogous works of his contemporaries.
It may have resulted from a confluence of external influences, some of which just mentioned above, but type of unsparing, geometrically-based abstraction which so deeply characterizes his method mode of rendering must have sprung from the artist's deepest personal inclinations, as there is no real comparable rendering in painting of the time in neither the Netherlands nor the rest of Europe.
The abstract quality of Vermeer's painting may be so appreciated today not only because it is consistent with contemporary taste, but because, perhaps, abstraction reveals something of the mechanics of vision and renders assimilation more efficient, and therefore more pleasurable.
This glossary contains a number of recurrent terms found on the present site which may not be clear to all readers, especially when employed within the context of an art discussion.
Some of these terms, signaled by an icon of the Vermeer's monogram and signature, are also discussed as they relate to specifically Vermeer's art.