A View of Delft: Vermeer and His Contemporaries is a collection of writings on aspects of painting in Delft during the period 1650-1675.
Walter Liedtke, highly respected curator and scholar of Dutch and Flemish art, discusses at length the work of four artists: Carel Fabritius, Gerard Houckgeest, Pieter de Hooch, and Johannes Vermeer. Liedtke considers recent interpretations and research on these artists' works, exploring in particular the relationship between style and observation in their paintings.
A View of Delft: Vermeer and His Contemporaries begins by examining the question of whether such a community or tradition as the 'Delft School' ever existed and by reviewing earlier opinions on the issue. The second chapter is devoted to Fabritius's small townscape A View in Delft, its reconstruction as an illusionistic image originally mounted in a perspective box, and the painting's significance in the narrow and in the broadest sense. In the third chapter, Leidtke focuses on a specialised genre in Delft, namely, views of actual church interiors, and offers another explanation of how naturalistic paintings, even those that carefully record existing sites, inevitably depend upon pictorial precedents. The fourth chapter on De Hooch and the "South Holland" tradition of genre painting prepares the way for the fifth, a look at Vermeer's early work. In the final chapter of A View of Delft: Vermeer and His Contemporaries, the author considers Vermeer's work as a mature artist, one who has completely mastered his means.