Websites of Museums with Vermeer Paintings in their Collections

(part three)

The Kenwood House, Vermeer
Vermeer's Guitar Player in the in the refurbished Dining-Room
of the Kenwood House.

By now, almost any self-respecting art institution has digitized some part of its collection. However, the design of the typical “virtual museum” frequently fails to rise above the level of a database intended more for administrative purposes. The artworks are often shown at low resolution if not in thumbnail format, precluding any meaningful experience on the part of internet navigators. Some museums have attempted to reach a wider audience by including custom-made content via some innovative presentation form.1 Others have assumed a wait-and-see attitude.

What is certain is that digitalization, which can no longer be postponed, raises existential questions for art institutions. How will the elevated costs of digitalization be recovered? Why go to a museum if you can enjoy the same artworks at your leisure on the nearest computer monitor? By overexposing works of art, will their “aura” be diminished, as Walter Benjamin predicted? Will paintings become "marketing instruments” in the hands of powerful museums? Furthermore, some institutions feel that the loss of the economic control over their intellectual property assets will erode their unquestioned authority as the custodians of the cultural value of the objects they possess and as gatekeepers of authenticity.

The most recent development in digital strategy of artworks of the past is the so-called "open content" policy pioneered by the Rijksmuseum, the Getty and the Washington National Gallery of Art. These forward-looking institutions provide not only free access to high-quality images of the objects in their collections of a level unthinkable only a few years ago, but have lifted any copyright restrictions whatsoever in the hopes of encouraging engagement of the general public with art and stimulating contemporary artistic production.

In regards to the Open Content Project recently launched by the Getty CEO Jim Cuno stated “The Getty was founded on the conviction that understanding art makes the world a better place, and sharing our digital resources is the natural extension of that belief,” Thus, the move to offer high-quality images of their artworks free of copyright and fee is "an educational imperative. Artists, students, teachers, writers, and countless others rely on artwork images to learn, tell stories, exchange ideas, and feed their own creativity.” In any case, there is little doubt that technological innovation is reshaping the role and mission
of museums as producers and distributors digital images exposing them contemporarily to threats and opportunities which are only now coming in to view.

Almost all of the institutions which house one or more Vermeer paintings have a website in which their Vermeer works are represented in some way. Some have allotted low quality images and minimum information while other, such as the Rijksmuseum, the Metropolitan of New York and the National Gallery of Washington provide navigators with in-depth information and spectacular high-resolution digital images. Furthermore, a few museum website few provide innovative tools for exploring art history such as timelines and essays on special topics. These sites have been signaled with four or five stars

It is now possible to download, free of charge digital images of an increasing number of Vermeer paintings.

If you are traveling specifically to see one or more painting paintings by Vermeer, always contact the museum beforehand to be sure it is on display at the moment you plan to visit. Paintings are frequently on temporary loan or in restoration.

Keep track of the temporary exhibitions by viewing the complete Vermeer catalogue index.

part 1
Rijksmuseum Amsterdam, Netherlands
New York Metropolitan Museum of Art New York, U.S.A.
National Gallery of Art Washington D.C., U.S.A.
National Gallery London, England
part 2
Mauritshuis The Hague
Frick Collection New York, U.S.A.
Musée du Louvre Paris, France
Staatliche Museen Preußischer Kulturbesitz, Gemäldegalerie Berlin, Germany
Staatliche Kunstsammlungen, Gemäldegalerie Dresden, Germany
Städelsches Kunstinstitut Frankfurt am Main, Germany
part 3
Herzog Anton Ulrich-Museum Brunswick, Germany
Kunsthistorisches Museum Vienna, Austria
National Gallery of Ireland Dublin, Ireland
Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum (n.g.) Boston, U.S.A.
Kenwood House London, England
The Royal Collection, Buckingham Palace London, England
National Gallery of Scotland Edinburgh, Scotland
The Leiden Collection New York, U. S. A.

HERZOG ANTON ULRICH-MUSEUM

museum home page: http://www.3landesmuseen.de/Geschichte.366.0.html

Girl with a Wineglass, Johannes Vermeer

The museum, as one of Europe's oldest museums of art, houses the fourth largest picture gallery of Old Masters in Germany, sculptures and artwork from the ancient world to the early modern age as well as a collection of prints (Kupferstichkabinett) with works from the Middle Ages to the present day. The collection houses one painting by Vermeer, The Girl with a Wineglass.

The Herzog website also features Virtuelles Kupferstichkabinett, an online database ‚which gathers substantial parts of the graphic collections of Herzog Anton Ulrich-Museum in Brunswick and the Herzog August Bibliothek in Wolfenbüttel.

The author of the Essential Vermeer was unable to locate any significant information on the museum website about The Girl with a Wineglass. There is little reason to go through the trouble of accessing the pixilated image of Vermeer's picture (no. 157) via the viewer of the gallery's Niederländische Malerei (Dutch Painters).

Although this exquisite collection cannot rival the few major collections where most Vermeer paintings are housed, there seems to be no reason not to add a few good scans and text to inform curious viewers about the Vermeer masterpiece they possess.

Herzog Anton Ulrich-Museum Information

  • location:
    Herzog Anton Ulrich-Museum,
    Kunstmuseum des Landes Niedersachsen
    Museumstraße 1 D-38100 Brunswick
  • opening hours:
    closed on Mondays,
    Tue., Thurs. - Sun. 10am - 5pm, Wed. 1pm - 8pm
  • contact :
    tel (0531) 12 25 0
    telefax (0531) 12 25 24 08
  • email: info@museum-braunschweig.de

THE KUNSTHISTORISCHES MUSEUM

museum home page: http://www.khm.at/en/

The Art of Painting, Johannes Vermeer

The museums' magnificent architecture creates a fitting setting for the artistic treasures assembled by the Habsburgs. The collections of the Kunsthistorisches Museum are amongst the most important and spectacular in the world. The sixteenth-century Kunst- und Wunderkammer (art and treasure chambers) of Archduke Ferdinand and of Emperor Rudolph II, together with the baroque collections of Archduke Leopold Wilhelm form the nucleus of the Museums magnificent collections, in which the taste and artistic preferences of these and other connoisseurs of the Imperial Family are still discernible today, thus conveying a sense of the Imperial glory of the art-loving Habsburg dynasty. The Museums collections range from Ancient Egyptian and Greek and Roman Antiquities to the Collections of Medieval Art to the splendid Renaissance and Baroque Collections. In all, the museum is divided into eight different collections, some of which are housed in the Hofburg and in Schönbrunn Palace.

The collection houses one of Vermeer's key works, The Art of Painting.

Unfortunately, the Kunsthistorisches Museum has little to offer the internet navigator except for basic information about the history and composition of the museum. In particular, Vermeer's magnificent Art of Painting is sorrowfully represented with a mediocre image and a brief description of the work.

Like a few other Northern European art collections which house Vermeer paintings, the Kunsthistorisches' lack of interest for the internet as a medium for advancing its institutional goals is all too evident

Kunsthistorisches Museum Information

  • location:
    Picture Gallery Kunsthistorisches Museum, 1st Floor, A-1010 Vienna, Maria Theresien Platz
  • opening hours:
    Tuesday - Sunday 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Thursday 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Information about particular closing days: Tel. (+43 1) 525 24/403, 404, 407, 365
  • Please enquire as to which collections are partly or wholly closed because of renovations.
  • contact:
    tel. (+43 1) 525 24-0, fax: (+43 1) 525 24-503
  • email:
    info@khm.at

THE NATIONAL GALLERY OF IRELAND

museum home page:http://www.nationalgallery.ie

Lady Writing a Letter with her Madi, Johannes Vermeer

The National Gallery of Ireland (Irish: Gailearaí Náisiúnta na hÉireann) houses the Irish national collection of Irish and European art. It is located in the center of Dublin with one entrance on Merrion Square, beside Leinster House, and another on Clare Street. The Gallery has an extensive, representative collection of Irish painting and is also notable for its Italian Baroque and Dutch masters painting. The collection includes Vermeer's magnificent Woman Writing a Letter with her Maid.

After a recent revamp, the National Gallery of Ireland website now offers a zoom feature of their splendid Vermeer painting and few paragraphs of basic information.

National Gallery of Ireland Information

  • location:
    National Gallery of Ireland, Merrion Square West, Dublin 2
  • opening hours:
    Monday to Saturday 9.30am-5.30pm Thursday 9.30am-8.30pm Sunday 12pm-5.30pm Closed Good Friday, 24-26 December
  • Admission to the permanent collection is free. Entry to exhibition galleries and shop ceases 15 minutes before Gallery closing time.
  • contact:
    tel. +353-1-661 5133 fax. +353 1 661 5372
  • email:
    info@ngi.ie

ISABELLA STEWART GARDNER MUSEUM

museum home page: http://www.gardnermuseum.org/

The Concert, Johannes Vermeer

The Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum is at once an intimate collection of fine and decorative art and a vibrant, innovative venue for contemporary artists, musicians and scholars. Housed in a stunning fifteenth-century Venetian-style palace with three stories of galleries surrounding a sun- and flower-filled courtyard, the Museum provides an unusual backdrop for the viewing of art. The Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum's preeminent collection contains more than 2,500 paintings, sculptures, tapestries, furniture, manuscripts, rare books and decorative arts. The galleries house works by some of the most recognized artists in the world, including Titian, Rembrandt, Michelangelo, Raphael, Botticelli, Manet, Degas, Whistler and Sargent. The spirit of the architecture, the personal character of the arrangements and the artistic display of the enchanting courtyard in full bloom all create an atmosphere that distinguishes the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum as an intimate and culturally-rich treasure.

The collection once housed Vermeer's Concert, which however was stolen in March 18, 1990 and has not been recovered since. If you have any information regarding this theft, please report it to the F.B.I. Art Theft Program. More information can be found by clicking here.

The gallery website presents two pages dedicated to the theft of Vermeer's Concert with a standard image and no information about the painting itself.

from the gallery website:

In the early morning hours of March 18, 1990, thieves dressed as Boston police officers entered the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston and stole 13 works of art.

Anne Hawley, director of the Gardner Museum says, "These rare and important treasures of art need to be returned to the Gardner Museum so that they can be enjoyed again by the public. While people often talk about the monetary value of art, the value of these objects goes far beyond dollars and cents. These masterpieces have the power to inspire thinking and creativity, two processes essential to a civil society. Isabella Stewart Gardner, this museum’s founder, understood that when she left them ‘for the education and enjoyment of the public forever.’"

A reward of $5 million is offered for information leading to the return of the works of art in good condition. Please contact the museum’s Director of Security Anthony Amore, at 617 278 5114, theft@isgm.org, or the Federal Bureau of Investigation at 617 742 5533.

  • Click here for museum information about the theft of The Concert.
  • Click here for a full account of the Gardner heist.

Isabella Stewart Gardner Information

  • location:
    Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum
    280 The Fenway
    Boston, MA 02115
  • opening hours:
    Tuesday-Sunday 11 a.m.-5 p.m. (Galleries begin closing at 4:45 p.m.)
  • open the following holidays: New Year's Eve, New Year's Day, Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, Presidents Day, Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Columbus Day, and Veterans Day. Closed Thanksgiving and Christmas
  • contact :
    tel:(617)566-1401
    fax: (617)278-5167
    email: Information@isgm.org
  • visitor services:
    Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum
    2 Palace Road
    Boston, MA 02115
    (617)278-5166
    Information@isgm.org
  • mailing address:
    Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum
    2 Palace Road
    Boston, MA 02115

KENWOOD HOUSE

English Heritage as Trustees of the Iveagh Bequest\ London

museum home page: http://www.english-heritage.org.uk/daysout/properties/kenwood

The Guitar Player, Johannes Vermeer

Set in splendid grounds beside Hampstead Heath, this outstanding neoclassical house holds one of the most important collections of paintings ever given to the nation. Works by Rembrandt, Turner, Reynolds and Gainsborough all hang against a backdrop of sumptuous rooms. The house also contains paintings from the Suffolk Collection, with magnificent full-length portraits by William Larkin and Royal Stuart images by Van Dyck and Lely. The collection houses Vermeer's late and excellently conserved Guitar Player.

Visitors may wish to take time to enjoy the tranquility of Kenwood. As well as visiting the house, relax in the extensive lakeside gardens or explore the meandering pathways and woodland, featuring sculptures by Henry Moore and Barbara Hepworth. Pause to admire the wonderful views of London and enjoy the magnificent scenery, which is peppered with ancient oaks and is home to a variety of wildlife. Admission is free.

The Kenwood House website currently offers nothing regarding Vermeer's Guitar Player. Click here for a high-resolution image of The Guitar Player hosted on the National Gallery website.

  • location:
    Kenwood House
    Hampstead Lane, NW3,
    London
  • train access:
    Hampstead Heath 1½ miles; Archway and Golders Green Tube, then the 210 bus, or Highgate 1 mile
  • bus access:
    LT service 210 q Finsbury Park - Golders Green (020 7222 1234)
  • opening hours:
    1 Apr-31 Oct 10am-5pm Mon Tue Wed Thur Fri Sat Sun
    1 Nov-31Mar 10am-4pm Mon Tue Wed Thur Fri Sat Sun
    24-26 Dec and 1 Jan Closed
  • contact :
    tel. 020 8348 1286
kenwood House

THE BUCKINGHAM PALACE: THE ROYAL COLLECTION

museum home page: http://www.royalcollection.org.uk

The Music Lesson, Johannes Vermeer

Shaped by the personal tastes of kings and queens over more than 500 years, the Royal Collection includes paintings, drawings and watercolors, furniture, ceramics, clocks, silver, sculpture, jeweler, books, manuscripts, prints and maps, arms and armour, fans, and textiles. It is held in trust by The Queen as Sovereign for her successors and the Nation, and is not owned by her as a private individual.

Buckingham Palace has served as the official London residence of Britain's sovereigns since 1837. It evolved from a town house that was owned from the beginning of the eighteenth century by the Dukes of Buckingham. Today it is The Queen's official residence, with 775 rooms. Although in use for the many official events and receptions held by The Queen, areas of Buckingham Palace are opened to visitors on a regular basis.

The State Rooms of the Palace are open to visitors during the Annual Summer Opening in August and September. They are lavishly furnished with some of the greatest treasures from the Royal Collection - paintings by Rembrandt, Rubens, Vermeer, Poussin, Canaletto and Claude; sculpture by Canova and Chantrey; exquisite examples of Sèvres porcelain; and some of the finest English and French furniture in the world.

 

Royal Collection home page

The Royal Collection website has recently been renewed and now features excellent zoomable image of Vermeer's masterpiece, The Music Lesson.

The Royal Collection's web pages are currently in development alongside a new on-line object database. Information about the collection will be retrievable by searching, sorting and grouping the works by collector, type or subject.

The Royal Collection Information

The Music Lesson is frequently inaccessible to the general public, If you travel expressly to see the work, ALAWAY contact the museum personnel beforehand.

Royal Collection, London

NATIONAL GALLERY OF SCOTLAND

museum home page: http://www.nationalgalleries.org

Christ in the House of Martha and Mary, Johannes Vermeer

Opened to the public in 1859, the National Gallery of Scotland is situated in the heart of Edinburgh and is home to Scotland's greatest collection of European paintings and sculpture from the Renaissance to Post-Impressionism, one of the very finest galleries of its size in the world. As well as housing the national collection of work by Scottish artists, the Gallery also has some 20,000 drawings, prints and watercolors, with a Print Room open to the public by appointment. An active exhibitions programme both from the permanent collections and major international loan exhibitions. The gallery is complimented by the recent completion of the Playfair Project which has provided a specialist exhibition venue in the Royal Scottish Academy Building and the new facilities center, the Weston Link Building.

The Museum houses an outstanding collection of paintings, drawings and prints by the greatest artists from the Renaissance to Post-Impressionism, including Velásquez, El Greco, Rembrandt, Vermeer, Turner, Constable, Monet and Van Gogh; shown alongside the national collection of Scottish art.

The collection houses Vermeer's early religious work, Christ in the House of Martha and Mary.

The gallery has recently introduced a special feature concerning their Vermeer with some abbreviated information about the painting and an informative video with narration by Tico Seifert, Senior Curator of the National Gallery of Scotland. Vermeer’s painting is presented with a medium sized, low-quality digital image with basic explanatory text.

National Gallery of Scotland Information

  • location:
    The National Gallery of Scotland is on The Mound, right in the heart of Edinburgh, on Princes Street.opening
  • hours:
    open daily 10am-5pm. Thursdays until 7pm.
  • Festive period opening hours:
    Closed 25 and 26 December only. Open 1 January from 12 noon-5pm.
  • Admission is free. A charge may be made for special exhibitions.
  • contact:
    For general enquiries regarding your visit or Gallery services.
    +44 (0)131 624 6200
  • email:
    enquiries@nationalgalleries.org
National Gallery of Scotland

The Leiden Collection, New York

collection home page: http://www.theleidencollection.com/

A Young Woman Seated at the Virginals, attributed to Johannes Vermeer

The Leiden Collection website features a an online catalogue and provides an exhaustive overview of the Collection, scholarly entries of 175 paintings and drawings, artist biographies, as well as essays about major painters from Leiden featured in the Collection. It includes exceptional works by first rate Dutch artists such as Rembrandt van Rijn, Gerrit Dou and Frans van Mieris.

The Leiden Collection

The Leiden Collection has recently launched their excellent website. It is well-organized and contains a plethora of scholarly articles. The images are generally of high quality. The only fault with the website is that the colors of the image of A Young Woman Seated at the Virginals is somewhat murky and thus do not convey an accurate idea of the actual painting. Otherwise, the site is of significant benefit to those interested in specific aspects of Dutch art.

The Leiden Collection Information

  1. Peter Gorgels, "Rijksstudio: Make Your Own Masterpiece!", MW2013: Museums and the Web 2013, The annual conference of Museums and the Web | April 17-20, 2013 | Portland, OR, <http://mw2013.museumsandtheweb.com/paper/rijksstudio-make-your-own-masterpiece/>
The Leiden Collection icon