Of the 35 generally accepted paintings by Vermeer, 25 bear signatures, which, however, vary greatly in state of conservation and, hence, visibility.
After devising type c signature Vermeer used another type of signature in only two paintings.
The perfect symmetry of the type c monogram, as well as the manner in which the missing —the "Ver" [from] is less important than the "Meer" ["sea" or" lake"] in Vermeer's name—makes this type particularly appealing to the eye and intellectually satisfying.
The signatures of Vermeer's paintings are applied with fluid oil paint and a fine-tipped brush held in the hand steadied on a maulstick a few centimeters above the surface of the canvas, a practice indispensable for creating precise signatures sometimes scarcely more than a centimeter in length.
The maulstick also allowed the artist to apply his signature directly into wet paint, if he desired to do so.
Some of the thin lines in Vermeer's signatures are scarcely more than a hair's width.
In those signatures that are well conserved it is possible to observe that the marks are made with precise, decisive strokes.Nine are inscribed on patches of bare white-washed wall.A few signatures were once so conspicuous that they may have been intended to contribute to the aesthetics of the work.The lines of the type c monogram are created with a somewhat slower and more controlled hand than those of types a and b.Judging by the more or less accepted chronological order of Vermeer's oeuvre, it would seem that the space between the monogram and the first ) in the earlier paintings with type c signature and generally narrower in the later works (click here to see a complete facsimile set).With respect to the signatures of other Dutch genre painters, those of Vermeer vary considerably in position, relative dimension and, to some degree, form.