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This Dossier takes a fresh look at the innovative role Vermeer played in Dutch art in the 17th century. It examines the four paintings by Vermeer in the Rijksmuseum's collection, which span his whole career. As a dedicated artist with extraordinary visual sensitivity, Vermeer used optical instruments like the camera obscura to determine perspective and develop a new artistic vision. Vermeer's own surroundings in Delft were the breeding-ground for this modern art. Renowned during his lifetime but long misunderstood and neglected after his death, Vermeer is now a master who rightly enjoys worldwide fame.