All of the characters in the book are real historically documented individuals, although their personalities and relationships are a matter of fictionalised speculation from the few known facts.
Inspired by the John Truby book, I have matched these to character archetypes:
Johannes ('Jan') Vermeer - The protagonist and 'artist/clown' archetype. A young painter newly accepted into the artists Guild. His father has recently died, and he will see a mentor figure die in the inciting incident. These two are his twin 'ghosts' that drive his desire to prove himself.
Captain Melling ('The Captain') - former sea captain, now in an office job with the Dutch East Indies Company. Opponent/Ally, 'warrior' and 'king/father'. Unknown to most he is the romantic partner of Bramer.
Leonaert ('Leon') Bramer - ally and 'mentor/teacher'. An older painter working between Delft and Rome.
Antonie van Leeuwenhoek - Ally and 'magician'. Pioneering lens maker - Vermeer will cajole him to create (and keep secret) optical devices that Vermeer will use to make his paintings. He has lost children and will have conflict with Vermeer over his apparent neglect of them.
Catharina Bolnes - ally and wife to Vermeer, and 'princess/rebel'. Vermeer and she, live with her mother (Maria - opponent/ally and 'queen or mother'), and this is a source of pressure through Catharina on Vermeer to monetise his art and be an effective provider.
Carel Fabritius - 'ghost' and 'magician' and 'prince'. Artist killed in a gunpowder explosion in Delft. This is the inciting event of my story: I have Vermeer a reluctant witness to his friend and mentor Fabritius being pulled mortally wounded from the wreckage. This triggers his desire to justify his survival, and prove himself to his 'ghost' Fabritius.
Pieter van Ruijven - art dealer and latterly Vermeer's patron. Ally/opponent and 'trickster/rebel'. Revelations slowly emerge about his history with Vermeer's family, and need to 'own' people.
Pieter de Hooch - main opponent and 'King/trickster'. A painter only slightly older than Vermeer, yet more commercially and critically successful. Arriving in Delft after the explosion, Vermeer sees him as trying to replace Fabritius. Artists use of optics is the key mystery in the story. It is suggested that de Hooch uses them from the start, Vermeer will later use them, and his obtaining of de Hooch's methods through a duplicitous arrangement with van Ruijven is a moral turning point in the story.
With the exception of van Ruijven and de Hooch, each of these characters plays a part in the first chapter (proposed for the semester 1 project), though Leon and Maria are off-stage. The inclusion or not of de Hooch in the first chapter is an important question, but there are both factual and narrative arguments for him appearing later. Vermeer's perception that de Hooch is an interloper, arriving on the back of tragedy, and (undeservingly) 'replacing' Fabritius as the pre-eminent artist of Delft is a key part of the conflict between these two.