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Rijksmuseum In Amsterdam Launches Largest Ever Johannes Vermeer Exhibition

The Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam has opened the largest-ever exhibition for the Dutch master Johannes Vermeer.

The exhibition opened on Friday with 28 paintings of the Dutch maestro – out of the 34 paintings Vermeer created in his lifetime. Out of these, 7 works haven’t been displayed in the Netherlands – the home country of the artist – in two centuries. The exhibition was made possible through the joint efforts of institutions like the National Gallery (Washington D.C.) and the Frick Collection (New York) who loaned their Vermeer works to the Rijksmuseum. The exhibition will be open till June 4 this year.

Johannes Vermeer was born in Delft in 1632 to an art dealer. He lived in Delft all his life and became an art dealer besides an artist. During his lifetime he was well-regarded as an artist in the region but didn’t get any fame outside. A renewed interest in the 19th century occurred with the rise of photography, which allowed a larger public to view the intricacies of his works. However, Vermeer’s life and career still remained in relative obscurity and he remains best-known for his most iconic painting, Girl With A Pearl Earring (1665).

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This has been changing in recent years as more research is being done on the artist – including Mauritshuis in the Hague and the University of Antwerp. The Rijksmuseum too has been researching Johannes Vermeer and will continue to do so even after the exhibition ends. George Weber (Head, Department of Fine Arts, Rijksmuseum) said: “The last big monographic exhibition about Vermeer was at the National Gallery of Art in Washington D.C. and the Mauritshuis in the Hague in 1995–96. We are now a generation farther away from that. After nearly 30 years, it is necessary to show the work of Vermeer and others like [Pieter] de Hooch and Rembrandt [Harmenszoon van Rijn] as artists of the Netherlands.”