A blockbuster exhibition of paintings by Dutch master Johannes Vermeer opened in Amsterdam on Friday and is the largest collection of his work in one place.
Classics such as “Girl with a Pearl Earring” and “The Milkmaid” are among 28 masterpieces on display, with rare pieces on loan from galleries and private collections from the United States to Japan.
The unprecedented exhibition at the Rijksmuseum, which runs until June 4, has already sold more than 200,000 advance tickets, the most in the history of any Dutch national museum.
“February and March are sold out and April is selling fast,” a spokeswoman for the Rijksmuseum told AFP.
On Friday, visitors lined up outside a museum in the Dutch capital to see the Vermeer show.
“We don’t mind waiting in line, but I’m here to see my favorite painting in the whole world, ‘Girl with a Pearl Earring,'” said Athos of the Dutch town of Egustgeest. Millington Ward, 83, said.
“I have seen her alone in The Hague[at her usual home in the Mauritshuis]many times, but today she is here with all her friends.”
Little is known about the life of the Sphinx of Delft, so Vermeer is best known for his hauntingly lit domestic scenes that depict life in 17th-century Holland.
“This intense beauty and this moment where time stops is what you really see in this show,” said Tako Divits, director of the Rijksmuseum.
“You can see it for the first time face to face with Vermeer’s paintings. It’s been held here 28 times, so it’s incredibly exciting,” he told AFP earlier this week.
Vermeer also painted relatively few paintings, with only about 35 authentic works extant. This means that about three-fourths of Vermeer’s remaining oeuvre is in his one place.
– “More precious than a pearl” –
Novelist Tracy Chevalier sparked a wave of interest in Vermeer with her 1999 book Girl with a Pearl Earring, which sparked a Hollywood movie.
“Sometimes curtains are literally pulled back, but domestic subjects, often women, are pulled away from us,” Chevalier told AFP.
“Wow, he’s been really blessed with this domestic moment and there must be something special about it. And I think we can relate to that.”
The show’s once-in-a-lifetime status is also due to the fact that Vermeer’s works rarely move due to their age and value, and are prized possessions of many museums around the world.
Highlights also include three pieces from the Frick Collection in New York, the newly restored “Girl Reading a Letter by the Window” in Dresden, and “Woman with Balances” in the National Gallery of the United States Capital.
Art critics hailed the Vermeer exhibition as a must-see.
The New York Times described it as “a show more precious than pearls.”
“It will almost certainly go down in history as the artist’s definitive exhibition and will never be replicated,” said a US newspaper.
The Washington Post said, “There is no other Vermeer show like this”, and the Guardian in the UK described it as “a feast not to be missed”.
https://www.expatica.com/nl/general/record-breaking-vermeer-show-opens-in-amsterdam-523145/ Record-breaking Vermeer exhibition opens in Amsterdam