Vermeer

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Vermeer

Post  eddie on Sun Jan 08, 2012 5:16 pm

Vermeer's silent women draw a record attendance

Vermeer's Women: Secrets and Silence, on view at the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge, has broken records for an exhibition staged outside London

Ed Vulliamy

guardian.co.uk, Saturday 7 January 2012 12.45 GMT


Detail from Jacobus Vrel’s Woman at the Window. Photograph: Pascal Faligot

A single, subdivided room full of enigmatic and sometimes spectral paintings has broken records for any recent exhibition of its kind and size outside London.

Vermeer's Women: Secrets and Silence has been showing since October at the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge. While the Leonardo juggernaut crams crowds into the National Gallery in London, 117,000 people have packed into the small first-floor space to see the contrasting collection of only 32 paintings depicting the world of 17th-century Dutch women, as portrayed by Johannes Vermeer and other Dutch masters.

Ten thousand visitors came in the last week of 2011 alone, and double that may try to catch a peep before the show closes. The exhibition's curator, Betsy Wieseman, said: "I cannot think of a more gratifying experience as a curator than to have this level of success; to have so many people looking at, and responding so deeply to, this contemplative quality of silence. It's satisfying that such numbers of people get it."

The idea for an exhibition around the theme of women in Dutch interior painting followed the acquisition on loan of The Lacemaker, one of Vermeer's best-known and beloved paintings, from the Louvre in Paris.

The exhibition's success is nothing if not testimony to the almost cult appeal of this master of so few paintings, most on a small scale. But the project, once established, went on to secure extraordinary, lesser-known works, such as the eerie interior by Jacobus Vrel, from a private collection in France, in which a woman sits alone by an opaque, moonlit window to behold a lone child – or the ghost of a child – staring at her from the darkness outside.

Other masters cover more familiar themes: sewing, reading letters, domestic virtue, music lessons and courtyard life. Plus, of course, those favourite themes of the Dutch golden age: the lady's toilet, loose women, wine and deshabille in the boudoir, whether as love for sale, or stolen insight into a private, forbidden world.

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Re: Vermeer

Post  eddie on Fri Jan 13, 2012 6:14 am


The Milkmaid, c. 1658.

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Re: Vermeer

Post  eddie on Fri Jan 13, 2012 6:15 am


The Astronomer, c. 1668.

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Re: Vermeer

Post  eddie on Fri Jan 13, 2012 6:17 am


Girl With a Pearl Earring, 1665.

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Re: Vermeer

Post  eddie on Fri Jan 13, 2012 6:19 am


The Girl With the Wineglass, 1659.


Last edited by eddie on Fri Jan 13, 2012 6:21 am; edited 1 time in total

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Re: Vermeer

Post  eddie on Fri Jan 13, 2012 6:20 am


The Music Lesson or A Lady at the Virginals with a Gentleman, c. 1662-65; Vermeer.

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Re: Vermeer

Post  eddie on Fri Jan 13, 2012 6:23 am


View of Delft (1660–61) "He took a turbulent reality, and made it look like Heaven on earth."

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Re: Vermeer

Post  pinhedz on Fri Jan 13, 2012 9:07 am


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