Free from the bad ways of your elders. One of the unusual painting technique for kids touching details in Vermeer’s oeuvre is of two children absorbed in their play in The Little Street.
Although they occupy a miniscule portion of the painting, the magical atmosphere that pervades the work would be deprived of much of its warmth without their presence. As is befitting of Vermeer’s enigmatic nature, neither the children’s faces nor the nature of their play are revealed. We can only surmise that the darkly-dressed child wearing a broad brimmed hat would likely be a boy while the typically feminine attire worn by the other indicates the other was a girl. By turning their backs to us and hiding whatever they are doing, the artist stimulates the viewer to explore his own childhood memories.
Thus, we become an active participant in the picture’s silent narrative and help complete it as a work of art. Four had died in infancy or early childhood. At the rate of almost one birth a year, the Vermeer’ had five or six children by 1661, three of four whom survived. The first children who apparently lived into adulthood were all girls – Maria, Elisabeth, Cornelia, Aleydis, and Beatrix. We haven’t much to go on for daily details. We assume the children were got safely to and from school, taken to Mass on Sundays and holy days, made to say their prayers at night, and taken to city events such as fairs. They will have played the childhood games shown on Delft tiles of the time.
In the winter of 1660 Vermeer apparently bought an ice-boat for the large sum of eighty guilders. From what we know of their later lives, none of them seem to have inherited Vermeer’s artistic skills or pursued distinguished careers. Vermeer’s wife, Catharina Blones, who must have been pregnant for much of the time, also had the burden of looking after her mother. The Vermeers’ sixth surviving child and first son, also called Johannes, was having his education paid for out of income from farmland in Schoonhoven that had been Willem Bolnes’s. In June 1674, one year before her father’s death, Maria, about 20 years old, married the son of a prosperous Delft silk merchant named Gilliszoon Cramer. The wedding ceremony has held in Schipluy, where Maria’s parents had been married, most likely with Catholic sacraments. In the Dutch Republic of the seventeenth-century, the family was the keystone of society and had many unique and advanced characteristics.