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A painting shows a military officer in a Dutch sitting room, talking to a laughing girl. In another, a woman at a window weighs pieces of silver. Vermeer’s images captivate us with their beauty and mystery: What stories lie behind these stunningly rendered moments? As Timothy Brook shows us, these pictures, which seem so intimate, actually offer a remarkable view of a rapidly expanding world. Moving outward from Vermeer’s studio, Brook traces the web of trade that was spreading across the globe. Vermeer’s Hat shows how the urge to acquire foreign goods was refashioning the world more powerfully than we have yet understood.