Vermeer was not a note-taker, so much of his life remains a mystery. We learn through public records that his grandfather was a convicted counterfeiter, his grandmother ran illegal lotteries, and he married a woman outside of his own faith.
Vermeer's distinctive style makes his work easy to identify. Look closely and you will often see ladies, windows, tapestry table coverings, bowls of fruit, and pearls. Items of daily life. You might even notice that he uses the exact same item in more than one painting.
A fun way to learn about the time and art of Vermeer is through the historic fiction Chasing Vermeer by Blue Balliett. It is artistically accurate, suspenseful, and magical.