Ongoing and Upcoming Vermeer-Related Events
last update: January 17, 2020
last update: January 17, 2020
On this page are listed exhibitions, conferences, multimedia events and publications of the recent past which are related to the life and/or work of Johannes Vermeer.
Click here to see Vermeer-related events of the past.
Click here to view a sortable table of all past, ongoing and future Vermeer exhibitions.
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CODART provides a list of current, upcoming and past Flemish and Dutch related exhibitions, a newsletter and much more. https://www.codart.nl/guide/exhibitions/
EUROMUSE.NET is a public access portal giving accurate information on major exhibitions in European museums. Each museum's information is available in the native language and in English.
The Girl in the Spotlight: A technical re-examination of Vermeer's Girl with a Pearl Earring
edited by Abbie Vandivere (Mauritshuis, The Hague)
In 2018, Johannes Vermeer's Girl with a Pearl Earring underwent a technical examination within the research project The Girl in the Spotlight. The painting was examined in front of the museum public with state-of-the-art non-invasive imaging techniques. Samples taken during the 1990s were re-analysed. The goal was to document the current condition of the painting, and to find out more about the materials, techniques that Vermeer used to create this masterpiece. This special collection of articles in Heritage Science is devoted to the results of the technical examination.
The research project The Girl in the Spotlight is a Mauritshuis initiative and involves a team of internationally recognized specialists associated with the Netherlands Institute for Conservation+Art+Science+ (NICAS)+, and scientists from the University of Antwerp, Belgium, and the National Gallery of Art, Washington DC, USA. It has thus far yielded seven technical reports, which are listed below.
Mapping the pigment distribution of Vermeer's Girl with a Pearl Earring
As part of the 2018 Girl in the Spotlight project, reflectance and molecular fluorescence imaging spectroscopy (RIS, FIS), and macroscale X-ray fluorescence scanning (MA-XRF) were performed on Johannes Vermeer's...
authors: John K. Delaney, Kathryn A. Dooley, Annelies van Loon and Abbie Vandivere
Beauty is skin deep: the skin tones of Vermeer's Girl with a Pearl Earring
The soft modeling of the skin tones in Vermeer's Girl with a Pearl Earring has been remarked upon by art historians, and is their main argument to date this painting to c. 1665. This paper describe...
authors: Annelies van Loon, Abbie Vandivere, John K. Delaney, Kathryn A. Dooley, Steven De Meyer, Frederik Vanmeert, Victor Gonzalez, Koen Janssens, Emilien Leonhardt, Ralph Haswell, Suzan de Groot, Paolo D'Imporzano and Gareth R. Davies
Comparison of three 3D scanning techniques for paintings, as applied to Vermeer's Girl with a Pearl Earring
A seventeenth-century canvas painting is usually comprised of varnish and (translucent) paint layers on a substrate. A viewer's perception of a work of art can be affected by changes in and damages to these...
authors: Willemijn S. Elkhuizen, Tom W. J. Callewaert, Emilien Leonhardt, Abbie Vandivere, Yu Song, Sylvia C. Pont, Jo M. P. Geraedts and Joris Dik
Fading into the background: the dark space surrounding Vermeer's Girl with a Pearl Earring
The background of Vermeer'’s Girl with a Pearl Earring has, until recently, been interpreted as a flat dark space. The painting was examined in 2018 as part of the research project The Girl ...
authors: Abbie Vandivere, Annelies van Loon, Tom Callewaert, Ralph Haswell, Art Ness Proaño Gaibor, Henk van Keulen, Emilien Leonhardt and Joris Dik
Imaging secondary reaction products at the surface of Vermeer's Girl with the Pearl Earring by means of macroscopic X-ray powder diffraction scanning
The use of non-invasive macroscopic imaging techniques is becoming more prevalent in the field of cultural heritage, especially to avoid invasive procedures that damage valuable artworks. For this purpose, an ...
authors: Steven De Meyer, Frederik Vanmeert, Rani Vertongen, Annelies van Loon, Victor Gonzalez, Geert van der Snickt, Abbie Vandivere and Koen Janssens
Revealing the painterly technique beneath the surface of Vermeer's Girl with a Pearl Earring using macro- and microscale imaging
The initial steps that Johannes Vermeer took to create Girl with a Pearl Earring are, partially or completely, hidden beneath the painted surface. Vermeer’s painting technique involved applying underlay...
authors: Abbie Vandivere, Annelies van Loon, Kathryn A. Dooley, Ralph Haswell, Robert G. Erdmann, Emilien Leonhardt and John K. Delaney
From "Vermeer Illuminated" to "The Girl in the Spotlight": approaches and methodologies for the scientific (re-)examination of Vermeer's Girl with a Pearl Earring
Girl with a Pearl Earring by Johannes Vermeer is the most beloved painting in the collection of the Mauritshuis in The Hague, The Netherlands. The Girl was last examined during a 1994 restoration treatm...
authors: Abbie Vandivere, Jørgen Wadum, Klaas Jan van den Berg and Annelies van Loon
Click here to access the article.
In a recent paper, Huib Zuidervaart, of the History of Science Department of the Huygens Institute for the History of the Netherlands, has advanced an interesting theory on the origin of Vermeer's Glass of Wine and the The Girl with a Wine Glass. Zuidervaart asserts that the two works, which represent an open window that features an identical coat of arms, were commissioned as wedding presents for two of the grandchildren of Moijses van Nederveen and Janetge de Vogel. Moijses van Nederveen came from of a prominent Delft family which was one of the four local producers of gunpowder, delivered to the Dutch army. Although historians had previously identified the families to which the coat or arms belonged—the heraldic emblem is a combination of those belonging to the Van Nederveen and De Vogel families—no one had as of yet explained why Vermeer would have chose to include such a conspicuous elements into two ambitious compositions. Zuidervaart points out that dates given to both paintings by Vermeer experts coincide with the dates of the weddings in question. Moreover, the symbolic implications of the coat of arms (figure of female virtue holding a crest) would appear in agreement with the idea as a wedding gift as well as being consistent with the background of Vermeer's presumed clients. Given that both paintings present not only the same window but the same set of ceramic tiles, which Vermeer never painted again, it is also possible that the Delft master executed both works on the premises of the Van Nederveen/De Vogel residence in Delft.
Mr. Zuidervaart's paper, "Een nieuwe theorie over twee schilderijen van Johannes Vermeer (1632–1675)" published in Jaarboek Delfia Batavorum 28 (2018). He has kindly permitted Essemtial Vermeer to publish an English translation of it accessible by clicking here.
Botticelli to Van Gogh: Masterpieces from the National Gallery
November 13, 2020–March 14, 2021
National Gallery of Australia, Canberra
Spanning 450 years, Botticelli to Van Gogh: Masterpieces from the National Galler presents more than 60 paintings by some of Europe’s most revered artists, including Titian, Rembrandt, Vermeer, Velázquez, Goya, Turner, Renoir, Cézanne and Gauguin. Exclusive to Canberra, it comprises the largest group of works to travel outside of the United Kingdom in the history of the National Gallery, London.
The exhibition explores seven key periods in Western European art history: the Italian Renaissance, Dutch painting of the Golden Age, Van Dyck and British portraiture, the Grand Tour, Spanish art from the seventeenth century, landscape and the picturesque and the birth of modern art.
Highlights include Rembrandt’s Self Portrait at the Age of 34 1640, Vermeer’s A Lady Seated at a Virginal and Van Gogh’s Sunflowers 1888.
Mauritshuis, The Hague
17 October 2019–19 January 2020
Concluding the Rembrandt & the Golden Age year the Mauritshuis will stage the first international retrospective exhibition about one of Rembrandt's most talented students, Nicolaes Maes.
With his original representations of everyday life, Nicolaes Maes was one of the most innovative painters of the Dutch Golden Age. His domestic scenes have been a source of inspiration for painters such as Pieter de Hooch and Johannes Vermeer. In his lifelike representation of emotions, Maes shows himself to be a fully-fledged student of Rembrandt.
Maes began his career by painting Biblical stories, in which the influence of his teacher is clearly visible. Rembrandt was a dedicated teacher who challenged his pupils to be inventive and come up with new things. Maes was inspired by his teacher, but at the same time always looked for his own, new solutions. This can be clearly seen in The Sacrifice of Isaac (c. 1653). Maes gave this Biblical theme an explosive charge.
In the following years, Maes painted intimate scenes with women engaged in their household duties. The eavesdroppers are a favourite; representations of how the lady of the house catches her maid with a lover. Roguishly and conspiratorially, the woman looks at us; with her finger on her lips she draws the attention of the viewer and calls for silence. Some beautiful "eavesdroppers" will be on loan from the Dordrechts Museum, the Guildhall Art Gallery and the Wellington Museum (both London).
The second venue of the exhibition wil be held at the National Gallery, London,
22 February – 31 May 2020.
Museum Prinsenh - Delft
T +31 (0)15 260 23 58
The exhibition is the first retrospective of the artist’s work in his own country. After Vermeer, Pieter de Hooch is widely considered to be the most celebrated Delft master of the 17th century. The paintings De Hooch produced in Delft (c. 1652–1660) will be at the heart of the exhibition: his most beautiful courtyards and interiors will return to the city where they were painted almost 400 years ago.
29 works will be coming to Delft on loan from leading museums in Europe and the United States. These include many famous paintings never before exhibited in the Netherlands such as the well-known Courtyard of a House in Delft from the National Gallery, London. Other Pieter de Hooch masterpieces will come from Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza, Madrid, the Kunsthaus Zürich and the National Gallery of Art in Washington. An extraordinary work on loan from the Royal Collection of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II is the masterpiece Cardplayers in a Sunlit Room. In addition, the exhibition will comprise works on loan from the Mauritshuis, the Museum Boijmans van Beuningen, the Amsterdam Museum and of course the Rijksmuseum, which holds one of the largest collections of De Hoochs in the world.
An x-ray photograph taken decades ago revealed that behind the solitary female figure in Vermeer's Girl Reading a Letter by an Open Window the artist had originally incorporated a large ebony-framed “painting-within-a-painting” of a pot-belied Cupid. It was believed that the artist himself, unsatisfied with the results, presumably painted out the picture in order to nuance the painting's iconographic significance and/or improve the composition equilibrium.
However, the ongoing investigation and restoration of the painting Dresden Gemäldegalerie Alte Meister has been proven that the overpainting was not done by Vermeer himself but, unexpectedly, by a different hand some years after the completion of the work. It has not yet been possible to identify who or what point after the painting left Vermeer's studio time the alteration was performed, although Uta Neidhardt, the senior conservator at Dresden’s Gemäldegalerie, told The Art Newspaper:
There was even a layer of dirt above the original varnish on the Cupid, showing the painting had been in its original state for decades. [. . .] This is the most sensational experience of my career [. . .] It makes it a different painting.
In conformance with the new findings, the Gemäldegalerie decided to remove the layer of gray paint which obsures such a major background element and thus restore it the artist's original intention.
For a short period of about 5 weeks the painting can now be enjoyed in a special studio presentation at the Gemäldegalerie, from May 8 to June 16.
The restoration is taking place in the paintings conservation department at the Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden and is being performed by paintings conservator Dr. Christoph Schölzel. Accompanying the restoration is a research project about the painting, carried out in cooperation with the archaeometry laboratory at the Hochschule für Bildende Künste Dresden, the Doerner-Institut at the Bayerische Staatsgemäldesammlungen München, the Rijksmuseum Amsterdam and The National Gallery in London.
At the outset of the restoration, a symposium was held in March 2017 with specialists from Amsterdam, Copenhagen, Vienna and Dresden, who have investigated and restored works by Vermeer in the past years. They were invited by the Dresden Gemäldegalerie and will continue to accompany the conservation project and provide their professional input.
After completing the restoration of Vermeer’s Girl Reading a Letter at a Open Window, the painting is scheduled to be shown again to the visitors from March, 2020.
For videos, further information and images regarding on the restoration of the painting, visit the Gemäldegalerie dedicated webpage.
Vermeer and Perspective
Soon after Pieter Teding van Berkhout, a young scion of a landed gentry family from The Hague, made a visit to Vermeer's studio in June 1669, he wrote in his diary, "I went to see a celebrated painter named Vermeer." But Van Berkhout understood Vermeer's paintings differently than we do today. He described them not as "allegories" or "scenes of daily life," much less "masterpieces of light" or "suspended moments in time" that "exude silence." Van Berkhout wrote that the most "extraordinary and curious aspect" of Vermeer's art consists in "perspective."
This new and richly-illustrated two-part study is the most comprehensive examination thus far undertaken into Vermeer and linear perspective. The first part considers how Vermeer and his contemporaries could have acquired knowledge of linear perspective needed to create the sensation of foreshortening and spatial recession in their paintings. The methods considered include geometric construction, the drawing frame, the pin-and-string method and the camera obscura. Each of these four methods is first examined in its functionality and practicality, and then weighed against correlating evidence exhibited in Vermeer's paintings.
The second part examines the perspective armature of each of his paintings, reveling their strengths, weakness and anomalies.
Also included are perspective diagrams of each painting, a list of period perspective manuals—many of which can be downloaded integrally in PDF format—a glossary of perspective terms as well as a list of writings focused on questions of Vermeer and perspective.
Vermeer's Mistress and Maid (Frick Diptych)
by James Ivory and Margaret Iacono
Hardcover, 64 pages, London (D. Giles ltd.)
This slim but richly illustrated publication is the second volume in the Frick Diptych Series, which pairs an essay by Margaret Iacono, the Frick’s Associate Research Curator, with a literary piece by Academy Award-winning film director, producer and screenwriter James Ivory.
Particularity fascinating for Vermeer devotees is Iacono's 36-page essay, which examines the picture from its inception to the complicated financial transactions which brought the Maid and Mistress— the third and last Vermeer—to the collection of the New York magnate Henry Clay Frick, who assembled one of the finest private art collections in the world. While the painting's authorship has rarely been questioned, its oversized figures, dark background and anomalous execution have been a source of considerable debate. Iacono weighs the various sides and, after analyzing the work's theme and composition, provides the most insightful “picture” yet proposed of this luxurious but enigmatic canvas. She also discusses the recent technical examination of the picture performed by the Metropolitan Museum of Art conservation department which provides provisional—a full report is forthcoming—but exciting new evidence concerning work's compositional iter as well as its present condition, allowing us to gaze deeper into the artist's intentions and the picture-making process. Included is a revised provenance.
Margaret Iacono is associate research curator at The Frick Collection. Her areas of interest include northern European painting of the fifteenth to seventeenth centuries and the history of collecting. Most recently she organized Vermeer, Rembrandt and Hals: Masterpieces of Dutch Painting from the Mauritshuis (2014), and also served as the Frick coordinator for The Frick Collection: Art Treasures in New York, held at the Mauritshuis, The Hague (2015).
James Ivory is an American film director, producer and screenwriter. Films produced by his company Merchant Ivory Productions (producer Ismail Merchant and script writer Ruth Prawer Jhabvalar) won six Academy Awards. For his work onCall Me by Your Name (2017), which he wrote and produced, Ivory won awards for Best Adapted Screenplay from the Academy Awards, British Academy of Film and Television Arts, Writers Guild of America, the Critics' Choice Awards, and the Scripter Awards, among others.
In cooperation with 18 art institutions that house paintings by Vermeer, Google has launched a new monographic website called Meet Vermeer as a part of its Google Art Project website. The new project features a ample series of videos and richly illustrated introductory essays that address various aspects Vermeer's life and artistic afterlife, including the artist's technique, defining themes and critical reception. The project also vaunts a smartphone app called Pocket Gallery. Pocket Gallery transforms an iOS- or Android-based smartphone into an ultra-high resolution exhibition that brings the complete works of Vermeer into a single Augmented Reality museum, designed specifically for the project by Google and curated by art historians.
For the pleasure of the more discerning art lover a or savvy art scholar, the California-based technical Goliath has turned its Art Camera—designed specifically for photographing works of art—on eight canvases by Vermeer creating the highest-ever resolution image ever made. In various works (e.g., The View of Delft, Girl with a Pear Earring or The Geographer) the level of magnification is so astounding that we can question if greater magnification is any longer necessary, outside for purely conservational needs. The remaining works were photographed by the museums and collectors themselves and vary in resolution and color quality. The best high-resolution images include: Diana and her Companions, Christ in the House of Martha and Mary, The Milkmaid, The Little Street, The Glass of Wine, Girl with a Wineglass, The View of Delft, Woman in Blue Reading a Letter, Woman with a Pearl Necklace, A Lady Writing, The Geographer, The Girl with a Pearl Earring, The Love Letter, A Lady Standing at a Virginal and A Lady Seated at a Virginal. Both the newly photographed and museum images can been zoomed online, but they cannot be downloaded.
Meet Vermeer website:
Meet Vermeer | 63 stories
High-resolution images can be accessed from:
or go directly to the painting which interests you most:
Diana and her Companions
Christ in the House of Martha and Mary
Officer and Laughing Girl
The Little Street
The Glass of Wine
Girl with a Wineglass
The View of Delft
Woman in Blue Reading a Letter
Woman with a Pearl Necklace
Woman Holding a Balance
The Girl with a Pearl Earring
The Guitar Player
A Lady Standing at a Virginal
A Lady Seated at a Virginal