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“Exhaustive research conducted by a wide range of investigators during the 300 years since his death proves that Vermeer had no other studio outside of his home in which to paint. The logical extension of this fact, inasmuch as Vermeer and his wife Catharina produced 15 children during his short life, what that he must have been constantly, and continually surrounded by his family in the house while he painted! By extrapolation, is it not obvious, even at the most casual investigation, that the most readily available models for his paintings would be his own family members? This observation is compounded and ratified by the fact that nearly every one of his surviving paintings features young women as the principle model!
Therefore, it is reasonable to assume that Vermeer worked at home, and that he painted pictures of the women in his own family.
It is clearly documented that Vermeer had 5 daughters old enough to be the women shown in the paintings. Also, his wife and mother-in-law, are very likely candidates to be women shown in his paintings. A very thorough comparison of the faces of each of the women shown in his paintings reveals the obvious observation that the same women are being painted again and again. “
— Excerpted from the book, “Vermeer: Portraits of A Lifetime”, by Lawrence R. Spencer