Artists didn’t have hundreds of available pigments, as we do today. Paint samples scraped from the edges of Vermeer’s artwork show that he commonly used just seven pigments:
1. white lead, 2. yellow ochre, 3. vermillion, 4. red madder, 5, green earth, 6. raw umber and 7. ivory black.
In total, he may have used as many as seventeen, though many of them were rarely empoyed:
The source for this information is an excellent website called Essential Vermeer. Thanks Walt Morton!