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Ongoing and Upcoming Vermeer-Related Events

last update: April 28, 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.

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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/

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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.

Listress and Maid, by Johannes Vermemer

Latest results of the technical study of Vermeer's Mistress and Maid new logo

Johannes Vermeer’s 'Mistress and Maid': New Discoveries Cast Light on Changes to the Composition and the Discoloration of Some Paint Passages
by Dorothy Mahon, Silvia A. Centeno, Margaret Iacono, Federico Carό, Heike Stege & Andrea Obermeier

Since the nineteenth century, with the growth in the number of studies focusing on Vermeer’s paintings, critics and scholars have struggled to understand the visual peculiarities presented by Mistress and Maid. Recent advances in imaging techniques coupled with the improvement in the sensitivity of microanalytical methods have allowed a team of specialists to address the long-standing questions as well as to resolve some persistent misunderstandings. Among the discovers made while examining this unusually large-scale composition are that a tapestry or painting with multiple figures originally filled up background and that previous speculation that the painting was left in an unfinished state can be definitively put to rest. Discoveries pertaining to a few of the work's original color, which have degraded after the painting left the artist's easel, are also reported.

Girl with a Pearl Earring, Johannes Vermeer

Latest results of the technical study of Vermeer's Girl with a Pearl Earring new logo

The Girl in the Spotlight: Vermeer at Work, his Materials and Techniques in Girl with a Pearl Earring
Abbie Vandivere, Jørgen Wadum & Emilien Leonhardt
Heritage Science volume 8, Article number: 20 (2020)
The 2018 technical examination project The Girl in the Spotlight aimed to characterize the materials and techniques that Johannes Vermeer used to paint Girl with a Pearl Earring. Five research questions guided the micro- and macro-scale analyses: What can we find out about layers beneath the surface? What steps did Vermeer take to create the painting? Which materials did Vermeer use and where did they come from? Which techniques did Vermeer use to create subtle optical effects? What did the painting look like originally, and how has it changed? This paper concludes the special issue of Heritage Science by summarizing the results and putting them in an art-historical and materials history context.

Jacobus Vrell exhibition

Upcoming exhibiton of idiosyncratic Dutch painter

new logo

Who was Jacobus Vrel? Looking for clues of an enigmatic painter
13 October 2020 - 10 January 2021
Alte Pinakothek, Munich

from the CODART website:
His pictures are idiosyncratic, his figures odd and his street scenes stage-like. The works of Jacobus Vrel have frequently been mistaken for those by Johannes Vermeer. His street scenes and interiors are included in the holdings of the best-known museums in the world and are, at the same time, much sought-after rarities among collectors. However, to this day, Jacobus Vrel has remained virtually unknown—and, despite extensive archival research work since his discovery in the 19th century, it has not been possible to find any details about his person or where he worked.

Jacobus Vrel's works seemingly reflect everyday life in a small Dutch town in the 17th century while creating enigmatic worlds at the same time in which the viewer is not addressed in any way at all. The figures turn away from us, show only their backs or appear lost in thought. The depictions even exude, in part, an oppressive stillness. Not without reason a close affinity to the well-known Dane Vilhelm Hammershøi (1864–1916) has repeatedly been construed, whose atmospheric compositions, however, were created two centuries later.

Equally unusual are Vrel's street scenes. The spatial arrangement of the buildings shown is reminiscent of film or theatre sets. It is difficult to find comparable examples from the painter's own time. There are neither plausible paradigms nor are there any clear similarities to the works of better-known fellow artists. Always in vertical format, the compositions show multi-storeyed but slender brick houses, mostly with pointed gabled roofs, lined up close to one another. Only a few figures populate the narrow alleyways paved with cobblestones. Are these real places that Vrel has rendered here or are they the painter's invention, bearing no semblance to his immediate surroundings?

Nicolaes Maes, Eavsedropper

Exhibit on dedicated to Vermeer' contemporary new logo

Nicolaes Maes: Dutch Master of the Golden Age
February 22 –May, 31 2020

Share a knowing look with mischievous eavesdroppers and peer behind the doors of 17th-century Dutch households...From illicit goings-on in servants’ quarters to portraits of high society, Nicolaes Maes captured life upstairs and downstairs in the Dutch Golden Age.

Starting his career as one of Rembrandt’s most talented pupils, this exhibition – the first in the UK devoted to Maes – charts the artist’s rise to fame. Through nearly 50 paintings and drawings, it follows Maes’s move away from paintings of historical and biblical scenes, where Rembrandt’s influence is most clear, to the scenes of everyday life and portraits that made him one of the most sought-after artists of his time. Maes was an astute businessman, and produced over 900 portraits, adapting his style to reflect the high fashion and decoration of the second half of the 17th century. But it is his ‘genre’ scenes – which often feature the central character eavesdropping and breaking the fourth wall to interact directly with the viewer – which best reveal Maes’s inventive and distinct style.

Exhibition organized by the National Gallery, London and the Mauritshuis, The Hague.

admission: free
location: Ground Floor Galleries

related events

Saturday, 22 February 2020 | 11 am - 1 pm (tickets necessary)

more information
What can paintings and possessions tell us about self-presentation in 17th-century Holland? Thousands of 17th-century portraits by Dutch artists of Dutch sitters survive today. They give us enormous insight into the period, not just from what we see, but also what we don’t see. From portraits of the wealthy and the conscientious to children and young people aspiring to adulthood, we discuss what Maes’s portraits tell us about how his sitters wished to be seen.

Paintings of everyday life
Saturday, 29 February 2020 | 11 am - 1 pm (tickets necessary)
more information
What can Dutch genre paintings tell us about morality within and beyond the home? Dutch scenes of interiors tell us a great deal about Dutch values. They tell us about the importance of the role of the mother, the well-ordered household, and the attention that should be paid to religious matters. The largely female cast of characters in these paintings also presents us with a number of Dutch society stereotypes and gives an insight into Dutch ideals of good behavior, if not always the reality.

Success and failure
Saturday, 7 March 2020 | 11 am - 1 pm (tickets necessary)
more information
What were the career prospects for an artist in the competitive art world of 17th-century Holland? In this session, we consider the drivers for success in the changing decades of the 17th century. Why did some artists thrive but others like Vermeer, Hals and Rembrandt end up bankrupt? We will explore workshop arrangements and the relationship of masters and pupils in Rembrandt’s circle. And we will also consider why artists like Peter Lely, Gerrit van Honthorst and Mathias Stom moved abroad, taking their Dutch style with them. To what extent did they alter their practice to fit in outside of Holland?

Girl with a Pearl Earring, techncial investigation

Six new technical investigations of Vermeer's Girl with a Pearl Earring new logo

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

Full Text - PDF

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

Full Text - PDF

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

Full Text - PDF

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

Full Text - PDF

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

Full Text -| PDF

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

Full Text - PDF

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.

authors: Abbie Vandivere, Jørgen Wadum, Klaas Jan van den Berg and Annelies van Loon

Full Text - PDF

Vermeer's Glass of Wine and the Girl with a Wineglass

The origins of Vermeer's Glass of Wine and the Girl with a Wineglass: a new hypothesis new logo

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.

A Lady Seated at a Virginal

NG Lady Seated Seated at a Virginal goes to Australia new logo

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.

Girl Reading a Letter by an Open Window

Restoration of Vermeer's Girl Reading a Letter at an Open Window reveals spectacular surprise

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.

Time-lapse video of resoration process

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.

Video presenatation of the restoration

For videos, further information and images regarding on the restoration of the painting, visit the Gemäldegalerie dedicated webpage.