Essential Vermeer 3.0
Looking for a painting by Vermeer? Find it with QUICK SEARCH!

Essential Vermeer Newsletter no. 13

Essential Vermeer Newsletters 1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5 / 6 / 7 / 8 / 9 / 10 /11/ 12 / 13 / 14 / 15 16 / 17 / 18 / 19 / 20 / 21 / 22 / 23 / 24 / 25 / 26 / 27 / 28 / 29 / 30 / 31 /32 / 33 / 34 / 35 / 36 / 37/ 38 / 39 / 40 / 41 / 42 / 43 / 44

February 15, 2005

Dear Reader,

The Essential Vermeer Newsletter has now reached the 13th edition. Frankly, when I began assembling the contents of the first newsletter two year ago, I would have scarcely believed that so much Vermeer related material would have surfaced and that so many people would have demonstrated interest in its content. It is a true pleasure to be able to share this information with so many Vermeer enthusiasts around the world.

I would like to take the occasion to thank in the warmest way institutional personnel, Vermeer specialists and the many individuals who have been supportive of this project and who have kindly brought to my attention publications and events that would have otherwise escaped my attention.

So, in the hopes that "our" Vermeer newsletter will continue in its success, I send you my best wishes and, naturally, await any Vermeer signals you may come along.

Jonathan Janson
author and webmaster of the
Essential Vermeer


25 March–26 June, 2005
Mauritshuis, The Hague

museum info:
Very exceptionally, one of the most celebrated paintings by Vermeer, The Art of Painting, c 1666-8, from the collection of the Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna will be on loan for three months. Vermeer's careful rendering of the details and different surface textures as well as the subtle gradations of light are testimonies to Vermeer's supreme accomplishments as a painter. In 1996 the Mauritshuis mounted a survey exhibition of Vermeer's work. Unfortunately, the condition of The art of painting was not good enough to travel to the show. In the meantime, the painting has been restored, and nine years later Vermeer's showpiece can be seen to full advantage in The Hague.


web information:

The Royal Collection, Buckingham Palace
11 February - 30 October, 2005

museum info:
The Royal Collection contains one of the world's finest groups of Dutch seventeenth-century paintings. Among the most enduringly popular images in Western Art, these pictures have for centuries been admired for their harmonious compositions, close observation of detail, subtle light effects and meticulous finish. The 51 outstanding examples selected for the exhibition embrace genre scenes, portraits, still lifes, history paintings, landscapes and marinescapes. They include works by the great masters of the period, among them Rembrandt's jewel-like Christ and St Mary Magdalen at the Tomb and his Self-Portrait of 1642, luminous landscapes by Aelbert Cuyp, and Johannes Vermeer's enigmatic A Lady at the Virginals (The Music Lesson).

book tickets online:

or telephone:
(+44) (0) 20 7766 7301

Tickets may also be bought in advance from The Queen's Gallery, Buckingham Palace.

web information:

(Senses and Sins: Dutch Painters of Daily life in the Seventeenth Century)
Städelsches Kunstinstitut und Städtische Galerie, Frankfurt (in collaboration with the Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, Rotterdam)
February 10 to May 1, 2005

museum info:
Our special exhibition Senses and Sins brings everyday seventeenth-century Holland back to life, providing insight into the splendid epoch known as the "Golden Age." Altogether seventy-six paintings by twenty-two artists have been brought together for this presentation—loans from museums in Germany and abroad, as well as works from our own holdings.

Four major works by Jan Vermeer form the highlight of the exhibition: Along with The Geographer, a masterpiece of the Städel collection, Woman Writing a Letter from the National Gallery of Art in Washington, Woman with a Lute from the Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Love Letter from the Amsterdam Rijksmuseum and The Lacemaker from the Louvre are all on view.

web information:

email address:

4 February - 15 May, 2005
The Mauritshuis, The Hague

museum info:
The originally Flemish painter Gysbrechts entered the service of the Danish court in 1668. In the following four years he produced a unique series of trompe l'œil paintings for King Frederik III and his successor Christiaan V. While various seventeenth-century artists attempted to paint the odd trompe-l'œil representation, Gysbrechts made it his specialty. His partially open wall cabinets, letter racks, turned back cloths and hunting still lifes ingeniously deceive the viewer's eye.


web information:

8 April-26 June, 2005
Hamburger Kunsthalle und Galerie der Gegenwart
Glockengießerwall (Domed Hall)
20095 Hamburg

museum info:
Following extensive restoration, the painting Der Liebesbote (The Messenger of Love) by Rotterdam artist Pieter de Hooch (1629–1684) is the central focus of this exhibition of Netherlandish 'fine painting' from the Golden Age. A small show of carefully selected works throws light upon the different aspects of the painting that have been made visible once more. Its particular color tones and motifs can now be experienced in their full glory, making it easier to comprehend the multifaceted connections between the depicted elements.


web information available at the museum's site:

opening hours
Tuesdays to Sundays 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Thursdays 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Mondays closed

FRANS VAN MIERIS (1635–1681)
Mauritshuis, The Hague
1 October, 2005–15 January, 2006

museum info:
The Leiden painter Frans van Mieris enjoyed great fame both in the Netherlands and abroad even during his lifetime. He received commissions, for example, from Cosimo III de Medici and Archduke Leopold Wilhelm of Vienna. Van Mieris and his master Gerrit Dou were the most important representatives of the Leiden fine painters' school. Van Mieris specialized in small genre scenes and portraits. His representations of materials, his meticulous style and his use of color are virtually unsurpassed. There has never previously been an overview of his entire oeuvre. A joint enterprise with the National Gallery of Art in Washington. With a catalogue.

other venue:
National Gallery of Art, Washington (dates as yet unknown)


web information:


Ben Broos, Ariane van Suchtelen. With contributions by Quentin Buvelot, Guus Sluiter, Petria Noble, Peter van der Ploeg,

Hans Vlieghe and Frederik Duparc. With an introductory essay by Rudi Ekkart. Edited by Quentin Buvelot
Zwolle: Waanders
2004 ISBN 90-400-9000-9

this book may be purchased at:

In this handsome volume, Vermeer's Girl with a Pearl Earring has been described at length by B. Broos and A. van Suchtelen under no. 59, which includes a technical description. Moreover, more than 230 painted portraits from the renowned collection of the Mauritshuis are reproduced and described. Besides portraits by the three great masters of seventeenth-century Dutch portraiture, Rembrandt and Hals—including world famous works such as The Anatomy Lesson of Dr. Nicolaes Tulp– many other paintings from the fifteenth to the eighteenth centuries are presented. They included masterpieces by Flemish masters such as Van Dyck and Rubens, and even some rare portraits by Holbein and Meling. In the first part of this large and attractively designed catalogue, 60 portraits are discussed in great detail, while the second part contains concise entries of over 170 of the paintings. The introductory essay discusses the genesis of this fascinating collection and points out relationships between a number of the portraits it contains.

George S. Keyes, Allan Shelden, Susan Donahue Kuretsky, Sarah Gibson Blanding, Axel Rüger and Arthur K. Wheelock, Jr.
Detroit Institute of Arts

The Detroit Institute of Arts offers a comprehensive look at its renowned seventeenth-century Dutch painting collection in the new book Masters of Dutch Painting, published by D Giles Ltd. in association with the DIA. Over 100 color photographs, accompanied by artist biographies, commentary and other comprehensive information lead the reader on a fascinating tour of one of the top collections of paintings by Dutch masters in the United States. With 120 color and 145 black and white illustrations and biographical information on more than 100 Dutch artists.


by Paisley Livingston

in "The Creation of Art: New Essays in Philosophical Aesthetics"
Edited by Berys Gaut, Paisley Livingston
304 pages 4 line diagrams 9 half-tones
ISBN 0521812348

A new collection of essays on creativity by a distinguished roster of philosophers of art. The subjects discussed include the nature of creativity and the process of artistic creation; the role that creative making should play in our understanding and evaluation of art; relations between concepts of creation and creativity; and ideas of tradition, metaphor, genius, imagination and genre.

Of particular interest to those interested in Vermeer is Paisley Livingston's essay entitled "Pentitmenti." Prof. Livingston carefully examines the concept of pentitmenti in traditional easel painting. Then, using as an example the most illusive of the many pentimenti discovered in Vermeer's oeuvre (the Cupid painting which was later covered over by the artist himself in the Girl Reading a Letter at an Open Window), he explores the ways in which we relate pentimenti to ultimate meaning of the work of art.

This is an important collection that will be eagerly sought by philosophers of art as well as theorists in art history, cinema studies and literary criticism.


by David G. Stork
in Scientific American, December, 2004, pp. 52–59
(this article was kindly brought to my attention by Prather P.)

Although this article does not specifically regard the painting of Johannes Vermeer, it addresses the broader and certainly one of the most heated issues of recent times: the extent to which optical technology was used by artists of the past. The much publicized assertion set forth by painter David Hockney and Charles Falco in their Secret Knowledge: Rediscovering the Lost Techniques of the Old Masters holds that fifteenth-century painters achieved a new level of realism with the help of lenses and mirrors. But with the aid of computer analysis recent studies cast serious doubts on that idea. In this article Mr. Stork analyzes in particular Jan van Eyck's Portrait of Giovanni Arnofini and his Wife which Hockney had used as prime evidence for his theory. Among other defects of the Hockney-Falco theory, Mr. Stork deduces that the mirror which they believed was used to generate one of the most astounding realist images of the story of Western art would have to have measured "a whopping" 2.4 meters in diameter, which most likely was incompatible with the technical knowledge of the time.

JOHANNES VERMEER: BEI DER KUPPLERIN – exhibition catalogue of Vermeer's restored "Procuress"
(German only)
Staatliche Kunstssammlungen Dresden, Dresden, 2004

This finely and abbundantly illustrated catalogue contains the following essays in German only:

  1. "Johannes Vermeer's Procuress, a work of Dutch Caravaggism?" by Uta Neidhart
  2. "Johannes Vermeers Procuress newly observed" by Albert Blankert
  3. "The Turkish rug in Johannes Vermeer's 'Procuress'" by Chrisitne Klose
  4. "Johannes Vermeer's 'Procuress,' Provenance and subject matter" by Annaliese Mayer-Meintschel
  5. "Johannes Vermeer's 'Procuress'- Restauration and Painting Technique Findings" by Marlies Giebe
  6. "Vermeers painting technique - a mixed technique. Research into binding agents in the painting 'Procuress'" by Johan Koller, Irene Fiedler and Ursula Baumer
  7. " Known and unknown. New research in Vermeers palette in the 'Procuress'" by Heike Stege. Cornelia Tilenschi and Achim Unger

address inquiries and orders to:
Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden
- Publikationsvertrieb -
Postfach 12 05 51
D-01006 Dresden

+49 (0)3 51 / 4 91 47 25

+49 (0)3 51 / 4 91 47 66


In the News

Dutch Discover Vermeer Studio in Delft Garden
Dec 27, 2004—By Marcel Michelson


Since news of the "discovery" of Vermeer's studio in Delft by Mr. Dann Hartmann first began circulating on last 16 December, I have received a number of emails enquiring about the reliability Mr. Hartmann' affirmation. I am certainly no expert in the matter but as far as I know, no recognized scholar as of yet come forward and embraced Mr. Hartmann's finding. In the same article (see link above), Mr. Hartmann also advances this rather curious observation regarding the two little children at play in Vermeer's Little Street. Hartmann believes that the girl playing in the street in the painting is the same daughter, probably Elisabeth.... "At close scrutiny both girls have a small hunchback. An artist, especially a detail-conscious one like Vermeer, cannot paint a daughter differently than she is. He can obscure a handicap but not make it disappear because then it would no longer be a painting of his daughter," Hartmann said. It would seem that Mr. Hartmann is not entirely new to Vermeer related discoveries. He also claims to have found the location the place where Vermeer painted his Little Street.

Here is what art historian Kees Kaldenbach had to say about the matter:

"In the Dutch newspaper Algemeen Dagblad of December 2004 Mr. Hartmann was presented as having 'discovered' a Vermeer studio in his own back yard at his home in Delft. The main argument being that the light in that particular Delft garden is so Vermeeresque. The secondary argument being that one of the Vermeer patrons once lived at this house and that Vermeer himself once worked there - a wild claim on which he has given no further documentary details—so it cannot be corroborated by serious researchers. Mr. Hartmann further amplified his case by stating contact in elevated circles—not only with the Mayor of Delft, with a board his own foundation which would open this house to the public at large and with Unesco for the international touch. Mr Hartmann surely thinks big. The amazing thing is not that Mr. Hartmann privately entertains these fanciful thoughts, but that they are being picked up and amplified unhindered by international news agencies. Abroad this so-called news is being picked up as plain fact. At the end of the same Algemeen Dagblad newspaper there is a word of caution: Vermeer specialist Drs Kees Kaldenbach strongly refutes all claims. 'This can only be the greatest possible hogwash' he says. 'Vermeer just worked on the upstairs floor on the canal side of his house at Oude Langendijk at the corner of Molenpoort. There are stacks of evidence for that location.'"

(Art historian Kees Kaldenbach wrote and maintains the 2000 item web site http://www.vermeerdelft.nl/)

It has been recently referred to me that Mr. Hartmann was denied subsidy has recently been denied an annual E 70.000,- subsidy by the Town of Delft. The reason given by the Town of Delft for this turndown is that the garden house dates from the eighteenth century. Vermeer, as most of us know, lived in the seventeenth century. Thus there is no claim to be made that this garden house should be on the Unesco list, and be open to the general public, as proposed by Hartmann.

FBI agents in Paris probing Messier in 1990 Boston art heist, report says
The Associated Press
February 11, 2005


Perhaps the investigation into the theft of Vermeer's Concert from the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston some 15 years ago is making progress.

from the article above:
Two FBI agents investigating a bold 1990 art theft in Boston went to Paris to investigate whether a former French media mogul embroiled in a financial scandal knows the whereabouts of some of the stolen art, the Boston Herald reported Friday. The newspaper, citing an American art dealer and historian who spoke to the Herald on condition of anonymity, said the agents want access to French legal records connected to the arrest of Jean-Marie Messier in the financial scandal surrounding the former head of entertainment conglomerate Vivendi Universal SA. The art expert was present for six hours Tuesday when FBI agents and a French prosecutor discussed whether Messier might have acquired paintings stolen from Boston's Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum while he built his personal art collection in the 1990s, the Herald said.


How to make a gigapixel picture

(thanks to Peter A. for having brought this piece of news to my attention)

TNO has produced the largest digital panoramic photo in the world. So, what do they mean by large? After all, modern consumer cameras can easily take a picture with 5 million pixels. Well, we are talking about a photo of completely different dimensions. One with 2.5 billion pixels—that's 500 times more pixels. If this photo were printed, it would measure 6.67 m by 2.67 m (300 dpi). The photograph shows Delft and its surroundings in the autumn of 2004. It was taken from the top of the Electrical Engineering faculty of Delft University, at a height of about 100 m, by TNO. Rather than downloading this monster image, the best way to explore Delft 340 years after Vermeer's own portrait of his beloved Delft, is to click on one of "Famous Landmarks" on this page:


We suggest you then click on "Old Church" for those who, like me, are easily disorientated. You may then explore the entire image by dragging the tiny red rectangle around with your cursor on the small panoramic image located in the upper left-hand corner of the initial image.

Here's where you can find more information about the TNO mega pixel project.

RIJKSMUSEUM WEBSITE REVAMPED (designed by Fabrique of Delft, Netherlands)


the Rijksmuseum redefines the future of museum web design and function

A sizeable portion of the Rijksmuseum's collection (which includes four absolute masterworks by Johannes Vermeer) cannot be exhibited, which makes the website a perfect place where the collection can be broadly accessed. In order to achieve this ambition, the Rijksmuseum's website has undergone improvements in terms of design, content and technical infrastructure. The site has undergone a three-part renewal: design, content and technical infrastructure have all been overhauled. The website makes use of the beautiful and world-renowned Rijksmuseum collection by using large images as well as greatly magnified details (often in full screen format, in so-called "moving panels").

The defining feature of the new design is the full screen illustrations of details from artworks in the collection, which serve as navigation tools. These illustrations encourage visitors to keep clicking so as to uncover underlying information, and help playfully reveal the collection and the cross-references between works on virtually every page. Another new aspect is the inclusion of interactive presentations that were created for the Rijksmuseum, The Masterpieces exhibition, which is on view in the Philips Wing until 2008.

However it would be mistaken to believe that the remake is essentially cosmetic. The site holds a vast amount of information for both the newly initiated and the seasoned art historian. One of the most powerful functions is the lightening fast online search. Navigators need to use a single command to simultaneously search the website, the museum's collection, the web shop and the library catalogue, which contains more than 200,000 books and periodicals. For example, when you type in the word "Rembrandt," 364 collection objects, 23 web entries and 1494 library entries show up.

This was made possible by linking up a number of different Rijksmuseum content databases: Adlib, the Collection Management System, ARIA and the library catalogue with over 200,000 books and periodicals. An increasing number of Rijksmuseum works will be made available online during the next few years.

Do not forget the site's informative encyclopedia.

EV 3.0 Newsletter ✉

Latest Article