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Notes on the Geography of The Netherlands: Delft: Vermeer

On the track of the "View of Delft" and "The Little Street."

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The Netherlands: Delft: Vermeer picture 1

Vermeer's "View of Delft" is lit by natural light at the Mauritshuis, a museum in the Hague, a few miles west of Delft. Here, as the sun comes over a wall, half the painting is brilliantly lit, while the other half is dark.

The Netherlands: Delft: Vermeer picture 2

The same spot, on the ground: the Kolk, or "outlet," with the New Church spire in the background. 

The Netherlands: Delft: Vermeer picture 3

A bit closer: the white buildings mark the approximate location of the Schiedam and Rotterdam city gates shown by Vermeer. They were demolished in the 1830s. (One of the city's gates--the East Gate-- remains and appears here later.) The waters flow from here in almost every direction. There's a stream branching to the left (the Buitenwatersloot), another on the far right (the Rijn-Schiekanall), and a third passes through the double-arched bridge and penetrates into the old city, where it quickly divides into several canals, including the Oude Delft. Behind the camera, the waters flow through the Schie Canal to Rotterdam. The VOC buildings lay along the Oude Delft canal, perhaps a hundred meters beyond the bridge.

The Netherlands: Delft: Vermeer picture 4

The Oosteinde (East India) Canal, looking from within the city southeasterly to the Oostpoort (East Gate) or St. Catherine's Gate.

The Netherlands: Delft: Vermeer picture 5

The same, from outside. The structure dates from about 1400.

The Netherlands: Delft: Vermeer picture 6

The gate is also a water gate: here is the passage into the East India Canal.

The Netherlands: Delft: Vermeer picture 7

19 and 20 Voldersgracht, one of many candidates for the locale of Vermeer's "The Little Street."

The Netherlands: Delft: Vermeer picture 8

The same street, taking a longer view.

The Netherlands: Delft: Vermeer picture 9

Contemporary canal-side domesticity.


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