Johannes Vermeer, “Woman Holding a Balance,” circa 1664, oil on canvas, 16 3/4 x 14 15/16 inches, National Gallery of Art, Washington

More than 20 years after the legendary Vermeer exhibition at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., the institution has once again mounted a revealing exhibition surrounding the Dutch Golden Age master and his relationships with contemporaries.

On view now through January 21, 2018 at the National Gallery of Art is a stellar exhibition featuring some of the most iconic and prized Dutch Golden Age masterpieces. “Vermeer and the Masters of Genre Painting” had a very successful run in 2017 at the Musée du Louvre and the National Gallery of Ireland before landing in Washington, D.C., for American audiences to enjoy. The show features some 65 masterpieces by Johannes Vermeer and his contemporaries — including Gerard ter Borch, Gerrit Dou, Pieter de Hooch, Nicolas Maes, Eglon van der Neer, Caspar Netscher, and Jacob Ochtervelt.

Johannes Vermeer, “Lady Writing,” circa 1665, oil on canvas, 17 11/16 x 15 11/16 inches
Johannes Vermeer, “The Lacemaker,” circa 1670-71, oil on canvas, 9 5/8 x 8 1/4 inches, Musée du Louvre, Paris
Johannes Vermeer, “Woman with a Pearl Necklace,” circa 1662-65, oil on canvas, 21 5/8 x 17 11/16 inches, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin

The paintings are organized by theme, composition, and technique as a way of highlighting how the painters admired, challenged, and pushed each other toward greater artistic achievement. “The paintings also reflect how these masters responded to the changing artistic climate of the Dutch Republic in the third quarter of the 17th century, particularly in Amsterdam, Haarlem, Leiden, Deventer, Rotterdam, and Delft,” the museum reports.

Gerrit Dou, “Astronomer by Candlelight,” circa 1665, oil on panel, 12 5/8 x 8 3/8 inches, J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles
Gabriel Metsu, “Woman Reading a Letter,” circa 1664-66, oil on panel, 20 11/16 x 15 13/16 inches, National Gallery of Ireland
Jan Steen, “Young Woman Playing a Harpsichord to a Young Man,” circa 1659, oil on panel, 16 5/8 x 13 inches, The National Gallery, London

National Gallery Director Earl A. Powell III adds, “The 1995 ‘Johannes Vermeer’ show endures as one of the most significant exhibitions in the Gallery’s history. ‘Vermeer and the Masters of Genre Painting’ will undoubtedly have the same impact while also deeply enriching our understanding of the web of influence among 17th-century Dutch artists.”

To learn more, visit the National Gallery of Art.

This article was featured in Fine Art Today, a weekly e-newsletter from Fine Art Connoisseur magazine. To start receiving Fine Art Today for free, click here.

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Andrew Webster is the former Editor of Fine Art Today and worked as an editorial and creative marketing assistant for Streamline Publishing. Andrew graduated from The University of North Carolina at Asheville with a B.A. in Art History and Ceramics. He then moved on to the University of Oregon, where he completed an M.A. in Art History. Studying under scholar Kathleen Nicholson, he completed a thesis project that investigated the peculiar practice of embedded self-portraiture within Christian imagery during the 15th and early 16th centuries in Italy.


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