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Essential Vermeer Newsletter no. 3

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February, 2003

Dear Reader,

I have added the link from the Essential Vermeer home page to a new site of mine which is dedicated entirely to Vermeer's Girl with a Pearl Earring. The site has been many months in the making and in it I have attempted to gather most all the available information regarding this absolute masterpiece and display it in a comprehensible and orderly, fashion. The site is broken down to about 35 separate pages each of which faces a particular facet of the work. There are more than a hundred relative images and many details of the painting as well. Since I am a painter by profession, I particularly enjoyed doing the pages on Vermeer's technical procedures.

As already noted, a page dedicated to the upcoming Vermeer and the Dutch Interior exhibition in Madrid; which opens tomorrow has been added. It contains detailed information about the exhibition. It will be updated as new information becomes available. Major exhibitions are often important occasions for new critical assessments of the artist, and his works as well as his artistic milieu. They are also opportunities to conduct restorations and laboratory research. We should expect new publications, lectures etc. I will do my best to keep up with what comes out but would greatly appreciate readers' help. It's still a big world.

Best of all,
Jonathan Janson

In the News

2003, 8 April–2 May

Although this news does not regard Vermeer; directly, it nonetheless should be appreciated by all those who love the rare paintings of Fabritius and Dutch seventeenth-century art in general.

The Mauritshuis will restore one of its most beautiful works: The Goldfinch. To enable the public to actually see the restoration work being done, one of the museum rooms is being refurbished as a restoration workshop for this period. Visitors can watch the restorer at work from 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. A web cam will be focused on the restorer as he works, so that his activities can be followed on the worldwide web.

Carel Fabritius, a pupil of Rembrandt, was undoubtedly one of the most ingenious and versatile painters of the Dutch seventeenth century. His work had a decisive influence on Johannes Vermeer, Pieter de Hooch and Emanuel de Witte. The explosion of the municipal arsenal in Delft in 1654 not only took the painter's life but destroyed many of his work as well. Masterpieces such as The Goldfinch, The Sentry and The View in Delft, with a musical instrument seller's stall rank among the most handsome and famous of Dutch paintings. Fabritius' complete (modest) oeuvre will be brought together in cooperation with the Staatliches Museum in Schwerin.

With a catalogue.
Link to the Mauritshuis: http://www.mauritshuis.nl/english/index_programma_explorer.html


February 19–18 May, 2003
An Art Exhibition with nine Vermeer paintings.

Madrid, Museo Nacional del Prado. An excellent opportunity to view nine of Vermeer's most beautiful works and to compare them with other Dutch paintings of similar theme. Some of Vermeer's most important paintings such as The Art of Painting from the Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna, Woman with a Balance from the National Gallery, Washington and the Young Woman with a Water Jug from the Metropolitan Museum, New York will be on view. Among other painters exhibited are Gaspar Netscher, Gerard Dou, Gabriel Metsu, Gerrit ter Borch, Jan Steen, Nicolaes Maes, Van Mieris, Pieter de Hooch and Enmanuel de Witte.

Alejandro Vergara has written the exhibition catalogue in collaboration with others.

museum opening hours:
Tuesday to Sunday and public holidays 9 a.m.–7 p.m.
24 and 31 December 9 a.m.–2 p.m.
(Last entry 30 minutes before closing. Visitors are requested to start vacating the galleries 10 minutes before closing)
Monday: Closed.
1 January, Good Friday, 1 May and 25 December: Closed.

The Glory of the Baroque
1 March–September 6, 2004
Mississippi Arts Pavilion, Jackson Mississippi.

The exhibition will consist of more than 400 magnificent works from the State Art Collections Dresden and reflects Baroque art during the time of August the Strong and his son August III, electors of Saxony and kings of Poland.

The Procuress, one of Vermeer's early paintings will be on display after a much needed restoration which is currently underway.

As the first major exhibition from Dresden presented in North America since the reunification of East and West Germany, The Glory of Baroque Dresden is organized by the Mississippi Commission for International Cultural Exchange, Inc., in association with the Staatliche Kunstsammlungen (State Art Collections) Dresden. The exhibition features paintings by Rembrandt, Vermeer, Rubens and other Old Masters; Meissen porcelain; jewel-encrusted ceremonial arms and armor; rare prints and drawings; sculpture and decorative arts; portraits; furniture; costumes and crowns; gold, silver and fabulous jewels, including the 41-carat Dresden Green Diamond and the dazzling Moor sculpture.

For further information, http://www.gloryofdresden.com/modularbuilds/homepageshell.html

* Mrs. Fock has already written on the subject and has come to some surprising conclusions. For example, the black and white tiles which appear in so many Dutch paintings (and in those of many Vermeer's as well) were in fact extremely rare and found only in the homes of the rich. The Dutch preferred the far more common wood-planked floors which afforded great warmth in the long winters. On the other hand, collections of Chinese porcelain which were abundant in Dutch homes were for some reason rarely represented by artists of the time.

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