Tuesday, 4 April 2017

World Traveling Exhibition: Vermeer and the Masters of Genre Painting

Johannes Vermeer, The Milkmaid, ca. 1657-1658. Oil on canvas. 45.5 x 41 cm. Amsterdam,
Rijksmuseum © Amsterdam, The Rijksmuseum

The world traveling exhibition “Vermeer and the Masters of Genre Painting,” likely to be the most talked about art event of this year, has opened at the Louvre Museum in Paris. The exhibition displays 12, or about one third, of Vermeer’s works that exist today, including The Milkmaid , (fig. 1), A Woman Holding a Balance, and Allegory of Faith,. The exhibition was organized by the Louvre Museum, which owns one of the world’s leading collections of Dutch genre paintings including works by Vermeer, the National Gallery of Ireland and the National Gallery of Art in Washington. The exhibition will travel to each of these museums.

Enjoying Art in the 17th Century Dutch Republic
In the mid-17th century, the Netherlands entered an era of peak economic and cultural prosperity. Wealthy Dutch citizens bought paintings and displayed them in their homes. Friends and art lovers gathered to compare works, enjoying discussion of the characteristics and common themes and structures employed by the artists and the influences they had on each other. Vermeer’s works were also among those enjoyed in this manner.

Vermeer Amid Dutch Genre Painting
The exhibition “Vermeer and the Masters of Genre Painting” displays Vermeer’s works alongside those of his contemporaries in an attempt to reassess Vermeer in the context of Dutch genre painting. Vermeer undoubtedly left great works, but in reality he was one of many Dutch painters who escaped the world of great, traditional themes such as religion and wars to depict the likes of the daily life of a wealthy merchant by the canal. At this exhibition one can perceive how Vermeer and his rival contemporaries influenced each other in the same way that 17th century art lovers did.

Characteristics of Vermeer
A careful observation of Vermeer and his contemporaries reveals the distinctive characteristics of Vermeer. The colors used by Vermeer contain more light than the other painters and create a fresher atmosphere. Vermeer distinguishes himself from the others with his use of such colors.

Vermeer list of exhibited works, in order of creation
  1. The Milkmaid around 1657-1658 Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam
  2. Woman with a Lute around 1662-1664 Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York
  3. Woman with a Pearl Necklace1663-1664 Gemäldegalerie, Berlin
  4. A Woman Holding a Balance around 1664 National Gallery of Art, Washington
  5. A Lady Writing a Letter around 1665 National Gallery of Art, Washington
  6. The Astronomer 1668 Louvre Museum
  7. The Geographer 1669 Städelsches Kunstinstitut museum, Frankfurt
  8. The Lacemaker around 1669-1670 Louvre Museum
  9. Lady Writing a Letter with her Maid around 1670 National Gallery of Ireland
  10. Allegory of Faith around 1670-1672 Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York
  11. A Young Woman Seated at the Virginals around 1670-1672 The Leiden Collection,
    New York
  12. A Lady Seated at a Virginal around 1671-1674 National Gallery, London

Vermeer and the Masters of Genre Painting
  - 2017 Feb. 20-May 22 Louvre Museum (*Advance reservations are required for all visitors)
  - 2017 Jun. 17-Sep. 17 National Gallery of Ireland
  - 2017 Oct. 22-2018 Jan. 21 National Gallery in Washington
Simultaneously with “Vermeer and the Masters of Genre Painting,” the Louvre Museum is also showing the exhibitions “Masterpieces of the Leiden Collection – the Age of Rembrandt,” and “Drawing the Everyday Holland in the Golden Age.”

Musée du Louvre
75058 Paris
Opening times:
Mon, Thu, Sat, Sun 9:00-18:00
Wed, Fri 9:00-21:45
Tue, Jan 1, May 1, Dec 25