Vermeer 1: An Artist From Delft
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Vermeer 1: An Artist from Delft
In 2023 the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam is staging what is being billed as the ‘largest’ exhibition of Vermeer’s work ever. The precise number of his paintings which will be on show is open to debate, as recent research has removed some works from his oeuvre, and added more in, but from a career which barely spanned two decades, only around 35 paintings survive: most will be on display.
Among their number will be The Girl with the Pearl Earring, which the Mauritshuis had previously said would never leave The Hague, and works from the Frick in New York. Ongoing refurbishment means that the founder’s restrictions can be relaxed, and they can, for the first time, lend their paintings. These are just a few of the treasures from around the world you will be able to see. The second talk, next week, will provide a virtual ‘tour’ of the exhibition, discussing the paintings in all their mysterious and compelling complexity, whereas this week we will consider their context: Vermeer’s life and times.
At the same time as the Rijksmuseum’s Vermeer, the Prinsenhof Museum, in the artist’s home town of Delft, will be staging a parallel exhibition, Vermeer's Delft, which promises to ‘paint a clear picture of the artistic, intellectual, and social climate of Delft in the 17th century’. In the first of the two talks we will look at this display in order to discover the remarkable features of the city’s cultural life which enabled Vermeer to become the great artist we know, and, if there is time, look at some of the master's unexpected early works on show in Amsterdam.
Please remember, I do not record my talks