For the first time since 1966,  twelve of the Dutch painter’s 36 masterworks are united and exposed in Paris at the Louvre museum. Named “Vermeer and the Masters of Genre Painting”, this temporary exhibition portrays the master’s work in perspective with other 17th century Dutch painters, such as Gerard ter Borch, Jan Steen or Gerard Dou among others. Nicknamed the “sphinx of Delft”, Johannes Vermeer (1632-1675) was widely forgotten after his death up to the latter part of the 19th century. Yet he is today known world-wide for his most celebrated painting, Girl with a Pearl Earring. Most of his works deal with interiors and elements of daily life, in a period of prosperity and wealth of the Dutch empire, and the iconic celebration of domestic life which went with it, showing refinement and detail in small everyday elements. This period of Dutch painting offers similarities in style, composition and themes that contributed to the emulation of each artist’s creativity, in a context of positive competition.

Girl with a Pearl Earring  1665-67, Koninklijk Kabinet van Schilderijen Mauritshuis, The Hague Museum. 46.5×40 cm

The exhibition will last only 3 months. Warning: previous temporary exhibitions of top major painters at the Louvre (Raphael and Ingres, for example) drew 5000 visitors per day. The numbers for this Vermeer exhibition approach twice as many, and most of the paintings are actually quite small in size. Therefore you are constrained to visit the Louvre Museum in advance and physically obtain reservation tickets for set hours of visit, which can be for another day. Yet it is very easy to do so, as there are many machines under the main pyramid access hall.

The Milkmaid,  1658-1661, Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam. 45,5x41cm

Dates: February 22 to May 22, 2017

Louvre Museum hours: every day 9 am to 6 pm, except Tuesdays.        

Direct metro access: stop at Palais Royal-Musee du Louvre on line 1, exit Carousel du Louvre

D.A