I have produced a sample sequence about the painting known as 'Girl Reading a Letter at an Open Window' (see below). This aims to both show the (speculative) process of creating the scene, and speculate a plausible narrative that inspired it, based on the idea that the letter is bad news.
The model for the painting is thought to be Vermeer's wife. In the absence of any known scenario for them, of a letter containing bad news, I used the (factual) infant death of their child as fictional inspiration for a painting of grief. X-Rays reveal that the scene originally showed a painting of Cupid on the wall: indicating that it was a love letter, and it's removal therefore suggesting a change of story.
I turned this into a comic. It was produced as an entry to the Observer Graphic Short Story Competition in 2015, which constrained it to four pages. The story also featured real-life individual Antonie van Leeuwenhoek, a contemporary of Vermeer in the same small city, who was a pioneer of microscopy and discoverer of microscopic life. The relevance to this particular chapter is that he himself lost children to infant mortality, and his studies shed let on life (found where it was not expected, e.g. in water), and death (which again supports other life).
Given the death of an infant could be too powerfully emotive a subject, I tried to understate this, (and may have been too successful!)
[Note - I'm having problems uploading images, so the four pages can be viewed as a PDF on my Dropbox here.]
Introduction - 1945
There's almost an additional story about what happened after Vermeer's death, for example Hitler was a big admirer of Vermeer, and 'bought' some of his paintings. As an introduction to the book I have created a scene where 'Monuments Men' with Allied Forces find Hitler's art trove. I have then included a fictionalised dialogue with a curator, which discusses this, and introduces the fact that only the bare, notarised facts of Vermeer's life are known, and therefore we can only speculate about what he thought about his life and art.