Lady writing a letter with her Maid, c.1670 (oil on canvas) by Vermeer, Jan (Johannes) (1632-75); 72.2x59.5 cm; National Gallery of Ireland, Dublin, Ireland

Vermeer and the Masters of Genre Painting: Inspiration and Rivalry

Conceived by the National Gallery of Ireland, this revelatory exhibition celebrates the work of Johannes Vermeer (1632-1675) and will give new insights into the relationships the artist maintained with other great painters of the Dutch Golden Age.  It will bring together over 60 paintings from major public and private collections around the world. Ten masterpieces by Vermeer will be included representing nearly a third of the artist’s surviving works and the third highest number of works by Vermeer ever assembled.


Woman with a Pearl Necklace, 1664 (oil on canvas), Vermeer, Jan (Johannes) (1632-75) / Staatliche Museen, Berlin, Germany / Artothek
Woman with a Pearl Necklace, 1664 (oil on canvas), Vermeer, Jan (Johannes) (1632-75) / Staatliche Museen, Berlin, Germany / Artothek


The National Gallery of Ireland’s own Vermeer, Woman Writing a Letter, with her Maid c.1670, which is regarded as one of the artist’s finest works, will be shown alongside other exquisite compositions including Woman with a Balance (c.1663–4), Woman with a Pearl Necklace (1663–4), The Astronomer (1668), and The Geographer (1669). Paintings of daily life by contemporaries of Vermeer, including Gerrit Dou, Gerard ter Borch, Jan Steen, Gabriel Metsu, Pieter de Hooch and Frans van Mieris, will also feature.


Dr Adriaan Waiboer, Head of Collections and Research at the National Gallery of Ireland, and curator of the exhibition, says:

“Johannes Vermeer is frequently portrayed as an enigmatic figure working largely in isolation, but this exhibition clearly demonstrates how Vermeer’s subjects, compositions and figure types owe much to works by contemporary Dutch artists, including Gerrit Dou, Gerard ter Borch and Frans van Mieris, all of whom were more successful and influential in their time.”


Book now

The exhibition opens in the National Gallery of Ireland on Saturday 17th June and runs through to 17th September 2017.

Alongside the exhibition, there will be Thursday evening talks on Vermeer by writers and artists, as well as weekly tours, talks, drawing workshops and film screenings about the artist.

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