rijksmuseum exhibition uncovers johannes vermeer’s painting styles with modern scanners

rijksmuseum exhibition uncovers johannes vermeer’s painting styles with modern scanners

Johannes Vermeer exhibition at rijksmuseum

 

Rijksmuseum, the Netherlands’ national museum of art and history, welcomes visitors to its ‘Vermeer’ exhibition, the first retrospective exhibition of Johannes Vermeer in the history of the Rijksmuseum. 28 Vermeer paintings are on display for the show, loaned from seven countries around the world, making the exhibition the most complete overview of his work ever mounted for public viewing.

 

As the museum states, seven of the paintings are on view in the Netherlands for the first time in over 200 years. These artworks share the same space as some of classic Vermeer paintings that have long been renowned such as The Milkmaid and Girl with a Pearl Earring. Along with the exhibition, extensive research has been conducted in close collaboration with the Mauritshuis in The Hague to explore the artist’s ambitions, work, private life, religious faith and social milieu.

johannes vermeer exhibition rijksmuseum
images courtesy of Rijksmuseum | image: Macro-XRF scanning of The Little Street; photo by Rijksmuseum/Kelly Schenk | header: Macro-XRPD scanning of The Milkmaid; photo by Rijksmuseum/Kelly Schenk

 

 

Modern scanners for Johannes Vermeer

 

A past-meets-present trope occurs in the Vermeer exhibition at Rijksmuseum when the research team looked at modern scanning techniques to accelerate the exhibition’s research. A team of curators, conservators and scientists from the Rijksmuseum have been collaborating closely with colleagues from the Mauritshuis in The Hague and the University of Antwerp to investigate Vermeer’s paintings using scanning methodologies named advanced Macro-XRF and RIS, leading the team to uncover the artistic approach, process, and yearning for perfect composition.

 

The ongoing research will culminate in a presentation of the investigative results at an international symposium at the Rijksmuseum in 2025, signaling 350 years after the death of Johannes Vermeer. The symposium will also present research conducted in other museums, including the National Gallery in Washington and the Mauritshuis in The Hague. The latest research has also discovered the painter’s personal circumstances, including his social position, his living environment, and his contacts with artists and fellow citizens. 

johannes vermeer exhibition rijksmuseum
The Milkmaid under the microscope. photo by Rijksmuseum/Kelly Schenk

 

 

Rijksmuseum divided into thematic sections

 

The 28 Johannes Vermeer paintings are shown in a large setting that covers the Rijksmuseum’s Phillips Wing’s ten galleries. The exhibition brings visitors closer to Vermeer and provides rich insights into his life and paintings through 11 thematic sections, including: early ambitions, first domestic interiors, balance between the indoor and outdoor worlds, letters, musical seduction, outlook on the world, and inner values.

 

Taco Dibbits, General Director of the Rijksmuseum, says that Vermeer may not have produced many paintings, but their impact is unforgettable. ‘In a world-making constant demands upon us, the calmer and intimacy of his work brings time to a standstill. We are grateful to all the museums and private collections for their generosity, and for making this extraordinary exhibition possible,’ he says.

 

The exhibition is designed by the French architect and designer Jean-Michel Wilmotte. The velvet décor of the exhibition in intense green, aubergine and blue draws from Vermeer’s signature compositions. Graphic design for the exhibition is by Irma Boom. 

johannes vermeer exhibition rijksmuseum
Officer and Laughing Girl, Johannes Vermeer, 1657-58, oil on canvas. The Frick Collection, New York, photo by Joseph Coscia Jr

johannes vermeer exhibition rijksmuseum
The Milkmaid, Johannes Vermeer, 1658-59, oil on canvas. Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam. Purchased with the support of the Vereniging Rembrandt

johannes vermeer exhibition rijksmuseum
Girl with a Pearl Earring, 1664–67, oil on canvas. Mauritshuis, The Hague. Bequest of Arnoldus Andries des Tombe, The Hague

johannes vermeer exhibition rijksmuseum
The Glass of Wine, Johannes Vermeer, c. 1659-61, oil on canvas. Staatliche Museen zu Berlin – Gemäldegalerie

johannes-vermeer-exhibition-rijksmuseum-designboom-1800

View of Delft, Johannes Vermeer, 1660-61, oil on canvas. Mauritshuis, The Hague

johannes vermeer exhibition rijksmuseum
Girl Interrupted at Her Music, Johannes Vermeer,. 1659–61, oil on canvas. The Frick Collection. New York. Photo by Joseph Coscia Jr

johannes vermeer exhibition rijksmuseum
The Lacemaker, Johannes Vermeer, 1666–68, oil on canvas mounted on panel. Musée du Louvre, Paris

johannes vermeer exhibition rijksmuseum
Woman with a Pearl Necklace, Johannes Vermeer, c. 1662-64, oil on canvas. Staatliche Museen zu Berlin – Gemäldegalerie

johannes vermeer exhibition rijksmuseum
Woman in Blue Reading a Letter, Johannes Vermeer, 1662-64, oil on canvas. Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam. On loan from the City of Amsterdam (A. van der Hoop Bequest)

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Vermeer exhibition. Photo by Rijksmuseum/ Henk Wildschut

 

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Girl Reading a Letter at an Open Window, Johannes Vermeer, 1657-58, oil on canvas. Gemäldegalerie Alte Meister, Dresden
Girl Reading a Letter at an Open Window, Johannes Vermeer, 1657-58, oil on canvas. Gemäldegalerie Alte Meister, Dresden
Mistress and Maid, Johannes Vermeer, c. 1665-67, oil on canvas. The Frick Collection, New York. Photo by Joseph Coscia Jr
Mistress and Maid, Johannes Vermeer, c. 1665-67, oil on canvas. The Frick Collection, New York. Photo by Joseph Coscia Jr
Vermeer, 1664-67, oil on canvas. National Gallery of Art, Washington. Gift of Harry Waldron Havemeyer and Horace Havemeyer Jr., in memory of their father, Horace Havemeyer
Vermeer, 1664-67, oil on canvas. National Gallery of Art, Washington. Gift of Harry Waldron Havemeyer and Horace Havemeyer Jr., in memory of their father, Horace Havemeyer
Vermeer exhibition. Photo by Rijksmuseum/ Henk Wildschut
Vermeer exhibition. Photo by Rijksmuseum/ Henk Wildschut
Vermeer exhibition. Photo by Rijksmuseum/ Henk Wildschut
Vermeer exhibition. Photo by Rijksmuseum/ Henk Wildschut

project info:

 

name: Vermeer

artist: Johannes Vermeer

exhibition museum: Rijksmuseum

location: Museumstraat 1, Amsterdam in The Netherlands

dates: February 10th to June 4th, 2023

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