Essential Vermeer 3.0
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Ongoing and Upcoming Vermeer-Related Events

last update: October 12, 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.

Be there when it happens, keep track of with these online resources.

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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 logo

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 Concert, Johannes Vermeer

Vermeer's The Concert to be recovered? new logo


On October 19, the BBC Four broadcast a documentary called The Billion Dollar Art Hunt.

As most of us will remember, on 18 March 1990, $1bn-worth of paintings were stolen from the walls of Boston’s Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum including Vermeer's The Concert. 29 years later, journalist John Wilson received a tipoff that the works WERE ABOUT TO BE RECOVERED—not in Boston, as the FBI had assumed, but in west Dublin.

Wilson’s source is Charley Hill, a former detective in the Metropolitan Police Art Squad with a record of recovering famous paintings estimated at $100 million, including Munch’s The Scream and a Vermeer stolen from an Irish stately home. Hill, works privately now but is convinced that his intelligence about the Boston art theft is solid. A notorious Dublin gangster, Martin "The Viper " Foley, who was cultivated by Hill for years says he knows where the art can be found and wants to claim the $10 million reward. Foley is currently on he run but is 99% sure of the painting’s location.

The documentary recounts Wilson’s investigative journey into the hidden economy.


David Stork

Vermeer-related talk by David G. Stork new logo

David G. Stork, PhD Lecturer, Department of Computer Science, Stanford University, will give a special online LASER Talk at the UC Santa Cruz Institute of the Arts and Sciences entitled "Did Tim paint a Vermeer?"
October 13, PACIFIC TIME 5:05–5:30 pm. / EASTERN TIME 8:05 PM –8:30 pm.

To particpate, please register here:

Tim's Vermeer is a recent documentary feature film following engineer and self-described non-artist Tim Jenison's extensive efforts to "paint a Vermeer" by means of a novel optical telescope and mirror-comparator procedure. His efforts were inspired by the controversial claim that some Western painters as early as 1420 secretly built optical devices and traced passages in projected images during the execution of some of their works, thereby achieving a novel and compelling "optical look." We examine the proposed telescope optics in historical perspective, the difficulty and efficacy of the mirror comparator procedure as revealed by an independent artist/copyists attempts to replicate the procedure, and the particular visual evidence adduced in support of the comparator hypothesis. Specifically, we find that the luminance gradient along the rear wall in the duplicate painting is far from being rare, difficult, or even "impossible" to achieve, as proponents claimed; in fact, such gradients appear in numerous Old Master paintings that show no ancillary evidence of having been executed with optics. There is indeed a slight bowing of a single contour in the Vermeer original, which one would nominally expect to be straight; however, the optical explanation for this bowing implies numerous other lines would be similarly bowed, but in fact all are straight. The proposed method does not explain some of the most compelling "optical" evidence in Vermeer's works, such as the small disk-shaped highlights, which appear like the blur spots that arise in an out-of-focus projected image. Likewise, the comparator-based explanations for the presence of pinprick holes at central vanishing points, and the presence of underdrawings and pentimenti in several of Vermeer's works, have more plausible non-optical explanations. Finally, an independent experimental attempt to replicate the procedure fails overall to provide support for the telescope claim. In light of these considerations and evidence we conclude that it is extremely unlikely that Vermeer used the proposed mirror-comparator procedure.

David Stork, Tim's Vermeer

Critical review of Tim Jenison's claim that Vermeer used a hitherto unknown optical apparatus to create his paintings new logo

Did Tim Paint a Vermeer?
by David G. Stork, Christopher W. Tyler, and Sara J. Schechner
pdf icon http://www.essentialvermeer.com/misc/StorkTylerSchechner21.pdf

Tim’s Vermeer is a 2013 documentary feature-film following engineer and self-described non-artist Tim Jenison’s extensive efforts to “paint a Vermeer,” (The Music Lesson) by means of a novel optical telescope and mirror-comparator procedure. In this article David Stork, Christopher Tyler and Sara Schechner examine Jenison’s proposed telescope optics in historical perspective, the difficulty and efficacy of the mirror comparator procedure and the particular visual evidence adduced in support of the comparator hypothesis. The authors contend some of Jenison key claims, including that the luminescence gradient along the rear wall of Vermeer's painting was impossible to achieve without the use of an optical instrument, as well as the fact that a slight bowing of a few straight lines of the virginals can be explained without the use of a mirror, which is part of Jenison's device. The study emphasizes not only that Jenison's apparatus would have been one of the most complicated optical systems of its time, but that it has thus far been proven particularly difficult to operate in a practical studio setting.

(Submitted for peer-reviewed publication)

David G. Stork — scientist and author, who has made contributions to machine learning, pattern recognition, computer vision, artificial intelligence, computational optics, image analysis of fine art, and related fields.
Christopher W. Tyler — Head, Smith-Kettlewell Brain Imaging Center, Smith-Kettlewell Eye Research Institute
Sara J. Schechner — David P. Wheatland Curator Collection of Historical Scientific Instruments, Harvard University

Essential Vermeer Survey
initiated Aug. 24, 2020

Girl Reading an Open Letter, Dresden Vermeer exhibition, 2021

Major Vermeer exhibition in Dresden, 2021 new logo

Vermeer: Johannes Vermeer's Dresden Girl Reading a Letter at the Open Window and Dutch Genre Painting from the 17th Century
March 19–June 27, 2021
Gemäldegalerie Alte Meister, Dresden

from the Gemäldegalerie website:
Since 2017, Vermeer's early Girl Reading a Letter at the Open Window has been restored after extensive investigations in Dresden. The demanding and time-consuming restoration will be completed in about half a year. It is already clear how serious the appearance of the painting is changing. The spectacular restoration will result in a changed view of the painting and will lead to an art historical reorganization of the work.

On the occasion, the Gemäldegalerie is planning the exhibition Vermeer, which is to be shown in the special exhibition rooms of the Semper building on the Zwinger in only one exhibition station.

At the heart of the exhibition are the Girl Reading a Letter at the Open Window and another 9 paintings by Vermeer that are closely related to the picture. Moreover, 40–50 works of Dutch genre painting from the second half of the 17th century, including major works by Pieter de Hooch, Frans van Mieris, Gerard Ter Borch, Gabriel Metsu, Gerard Dou, Emanuel de Witte and Jan Steen, also present Vermeer's artistic environment with whom he was in close contact. Selected examples from other art forms such as sculptures, graphic prints, porcelain and historical furniture will enrich the exhibition in a meaningful relationship to individual paintings. As a result of the research project, the painting technique and restoration of the Girl Reading a Letter at the Open Window will be devoted to a separate exhibition segment to illustrate the complex.

An extensive accompanying program, which includes film documentation and a digitorial, as well as special tours, a series of lectures and a reading series, serves to convey the ambitious exhibition project. A catalog and a children's guide will be published for the special exhibition.

Below are the Vermeer paintings that will be part of the exhibition. One work has yet to be announced.

Diana and her Companions
The Procuress
Girl Reading a Letter by an Open Window
The Girl with a Wineglass
Woman in Blue Reading a Letter
Woman Holding a Balance
Woman with a Pearl Necklace
The Geographer
Lady Standing at the Virginal

Donald Olson, Dating Vermeer/s View of Delft

Scientist attempts to refine dating of Vermeer’s View of Delft new logo

Dating Vermeer’s View of Delft
in Sky & Telescope (25–20)
Donald Olson, Regents Professor Emeritus

Known as the "celestial sleuth" for his work in so-called "forensic astronomy,," Donald Olson, an astronomer at Texas State University, and a few colleagues, were able to determine the precise time of day that Life magazine photographer Alfred Eisenstaedt took iconic photograph: a sailor and a woman in a white nurse's uniform kissing in the young lady. More recently Olson turned his attention to Vermeer's View of Delft. After lengthy investigation which entailed making precise measurements of the painting's architectural features, traveling to Delft to make on-site measurements, including topographical surveys and taking photographs roughly in line with what would have been Vermeer's viewpoint, he claims that he ia able to give a more accurate date of the painting. He states "If Vermeer intended to portray a morning scene consistent with the time shown by the clock in the painting, then the combined evidence—the hour hand of the Schiedam Gate clock, the empty bell tower, and the Sun’s position in the sky—indicates that the painting dates from 1659 or an earlier year and matches the view that the artist could have observed from his window at the inn at 8:00 a.m. on a date near September." Although Olson grants the painting could have taken weeks,mon ths or even years to paint, he maintains that "the remarkably accurate depiction of the distinctive and fleeting pattern of light and shadows on the Nieuwe Kerk suggests that at least this detail was inspired by direct observation of the sunlit tower rising above the wall and roofs of Delft."


Video episode from the Frick Collection, New York: Cocktails with a Curator: Vermeer's 'Officer and Laughing Girl' new logo

by Frick curator Aimee Ng

Have you heard about the weekly Cocktails with a Curator video premieres yet? Friday at 5 p.m. NYC time....a curator of the Frick Collection speaks in a fresh way about a work from the renowned New York collection collection, often with reference to the moment we're in... and there is a cocktail (and mocktail) accompaniment as well.

In this week’s episode of Cocktails with a Curator, get up close to one of the Frick’s three beloved Vermeer paintings, Officer and Laughing Girl, with Curator Aimee Ng. While enjoying your Kopstootje—a shot of jenever (a traditional Dutch liquor) paired with a pint of beer—join Aimee in examining the artist’s masterful skill at portraying light and exploring the complex histories behind a seemingly simple hat.

(See the playlist of all published Cocktails with a Curator on the icon with "1/15" of the video below)

The Royal COllection icon

Vermeer's Music Lesson on dispay at Buckingham Palace for two years new logo

Masterpieces from Buckingham Palace
Friday, 11 Dec 2020 - Monday, 31 Jan 2022
The Queen's Gallery, Buckingham Palace, London

The exhibition brings together some of the most important paintings in the Royal Collection from the Picture Gallery at Buckingham Palace. Usually on public view during the annual Summer Opening of the Palace, the paintings will be shown in The Queen’s Gallery while Reservicing works are carried out to protect the historic building for future generations. The Picture Gallery was originally designed by the architect John Nash for George IV to display his collection of Dutch, Flemish and Italian Old Master paintings.

Artists represented in the exhibition include Titian, Guercino, Guido Reni, Vermeer, Rembrandt, Van Dyck, Rubens, Jan Steen, Claude, Canaletto and Vermeer with his masteriece, The Music Lesson

All events at the Queen's Gallery Buckingham Palace will be managed in line with COVID-secure procedures. Please see our Welcome Back page for more information..

A Lady Seated at the Vriginals, Materpieces from the National Gallery

Vermeer's A Lady Seated at a Virginals travels to Japan (Tokyo-Osaka) and Australia (Canberra) in 2020/2021 new logo

Masterpieces from the National Gallery
June 18–October 18, 2020
National Museum of Western Art, Tokyo

Masterpieces from the National Gallery, London is a largest exhibition ever drawn from the collection of the National Gallery, London. It will include a total of 61 never-before-shown works. Viewers can look forward to world-renowned masterpieces such as Vermeer's A Lady Seated at a Virginal and Vincent van Gogh's, Sunflowers (1888). Originally scheduled to open on 3rd March, the exhibition will begin its four-month stint at the National Museum of Western Art, Tokyo on 18th June, followed by two other venues.

second venue:
National Museum of Art, Osaka
November 3, 2020–January 31, 2021

third venue:
Botticelli to Van Gogh: Masterpieces from the National Gallery
March 5–June 14 , 2021
National Gallery of Australia, Canberra

unknown Dutch painting, by Vermeer?

Presentation of a hitherto unknown seventeenth-century Dutch painting new logo

About Johannes Vermeer: A Case Study
June 17–July 17, 2020
Keizerskapel, Keizerstraat 21-23, B-2000 Antwerp, Belgium

The CODART website has just released the announcement of an upcoming presentation called "About Johannes Vermeer: A Case Study." Dr. Jean-Pierre Désiré De Bruyn will present a previously unknown Dutch painting entitled A Young Woman with Wine Glass and Musician Playing a Tenor Recorder (oil on canvas, 47 x 47 cm.) at the Keizerskapel, in Antwerp from June 17 to July 17, 2020.

While stopping short of attributing the painting directly to Vermeer, De Bruyn draws a number of analogies to his authentic works claiming that among the painting's Vermeer ingredients are the background chair with lion-head finials, the gray-wall, the carpet (see that of Vermeer's The Music Lesson), the white faience jug with a silver cap and lady's dress (almost identical to that of Vermeer's The Glass of Wine). He further writes that although "further comparisons can be made with works by Pieter de Hooch, Gabriel Metsu... it seems justifiable that our painting refers to an unknown composition by Johannes Vermeer, dating from the beginning of the 1660's."

drawn from:
About Johannes Vermeer: A Case Study: Keizerskapel, Antwerp CODART

Listress and Maid, by Johannes Vermemer

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

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

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.

Girl with a Pearl Earring, techncial investigation

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

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