Vermeer’s paintings are undoubtedly some of the most spectacular works of the Baroque era. His interior scenes are beautiful and charming, and offer a unique and intimate portrait of middle-class Dutch life in the seventeenth century. However, Timothy Brook takes Vermeer’s masterpieces a step further – through meticulous analysis, Brook illuminates a world of vast global entanglements, unveiled in the minutiae of Vermeer’s paintings. A silver balance featured in one painting points to vast networks of global trade, while the beaver fur adorning another figure’s hat speaks to conquest and cultural exchange in the Americas. Through objects otherwise unnoteworthy, Brook offers an original perspective on the works of Johannes Vermeer and tells the story of the dawn of globalization.

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