The Rijksmuseum has announced that in spring of 2023, it will stage an retrospective dedicated to Dutch Baroque master Johannes Vermeer that will be the largest Vermeer exhibition ever. It is the first exhibition dedicated solely to Vermeer in the museum’s history.
A slow, deliberate painter who drew minor attention in his lifetime and whose genius was only really appreciated after his rediscovery by art historians in the 19th century, Vermeer only produced around 35 paintings that can be confidently attributed to him. His few works are the gems of any collection lucky enough to have secured one of them and are rarely loaned out. The Rijksmuseum has four of them — The Little Street, The Milkmaid, Woman Reading a Letter and The Love Letter.
The new show is a collaboration with the Mauritshuis in The Hague which boasts three Vermeers of its own in its permanent collection, including the most famous of them all, Girl with a Pearl Earring. Girl will join her Mauritshuis siblings, View of Delft and Diana and her Nymphs, on display at the exhibition, alongside all four of the Rijksmuseum’s Vermeer works. That will bring together the seven Vermeer paintings in Dutch possession for the first time, and they will be excellent company for masterpieces from other collections like The Geographer (Städel Museum, Frankfurt am Main), Lady Writing a Letter with her Maid (The National Gallery of Ireland, Dublin) and Woman Holding a Balance (The National Gallery of Art, Washington DC). The recently-restored Girl Reading a Letter at the Open Window from the Gemäldegalerie Alte Meister in Dresden will also be loaned for the exhibition. This will be the first time the painting is displayed in the Netherlands.
Curators, restorers and researchers from the Rijksmuseum and Mauritshuis will work together to take full advantage of the opportunity presented by the exhibition to study the seven Vermeers from their institutions and the ones on loan from other collections as well.
Taco Dibbits, Director of the Rijksmuseum: “Vermeer is one of the most famous painters in the Netherlands, along with Rembrandt, Van Gogh and Mondrian. We would not have thought it possible that so many museums are willing to lend their masterpieces. We are incredibly grateful to them. With this exhibition we can introduce a new generation to Vermeer’s painting at the highest level and present the results of the latest research.”
The exhibition runs from February 10th, 2023, until June 4th.