Vermeer - Milkmaid

Johannes Vermeer (1632–1675): “The Milkmaid”. Amsterdam, The Rijksmuseum

'Vermeer and the Masters of Genre Painting’ at Louvre



The Musée du Louvre, in collaboration with the National Gallery of Ireland in Dublin and the National Gallery of Art in Washington, is holding ‘Vermeer and the Masters of Genre Painting’, a landmark exhibition about renowned painter Johannes Vermeer. 22 February - 22 May 2017.

Source: Louvre Museum

For the first time since 1966, this event will bring together twelve of the Delft master’s paintings—a third of his total known body of work—providing an insight into the fascinating relationships the artist maintained with other great painters of the Dutch Golden Age.

“The Sphinx of Delft”: coined by French journalist and art critic Théophile Thoré-Bürger when he revealed Vermeer to the world late in the 19th century, this famous expression has served mainly to promote an enigmatic image of the painter. The myth of the solitary genius has done the rest. Yet Johannes Vermeer (1632–1675) did not attain his level of creative mastery in isolation from the art of his time.

Through comparisons with the works of other artists of the Golden Age—among them Gerrit Dou, Gerard ter Borch, Jan Steen, Pieter de Hooch, Gabriel Metsu, Caspar Netscher, and Frans van Mieris—the exhibition brings to light Vermeer’s membership of a network of painters specializing in the depiction of everyday life while admiring, inspiring, and vying with each other.

The third quarter of the 17th century saw the Dutch Republic’s global economic power reach its apogee. Proud of their social standing, the Dutch elite demanded art that would reflect their prestige. This demand led to the emergence of a “new wave” of genre painting in the early 1650s, with artists shifting their focus to idealized depictions of domesticity in elegant society. The men and women portrayed in these masterfully-executed pieces display a staged civility.



Related content

“The Young Vermeer” at the National Galleries of Scotland (exhibition, 2013)


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