Johannes Vermeer produced a relatively limited number of paintings, which only goes to make them all the more precious. He took great care and painstakingly laboured on each minute detail, sometimes driving his patrons to distraction. Vermeer also favoured quite expensive pigments, which was also a factor in his rate of output, as balancing the budget was not his forte. He had, however, an exquisite eye for the quiet interior scenes of daily life, and was a master of subdued lighting.
Up Close with Vermeer, Masters of Genre Painting in the Golden Age offers a fresh perspective in the context of his contemporaries. A predilection for introspective scenes built around Vermeer a reputation as the ‘Sphinx of Delft’, inaccessible and removed from others. This exhibition, organised by the Louvre Museum in Paris, the National Gallery of Ireland, and the National Gallery of Art, Washington, with extraordinary loans, seeks to disperse the isolationist myth and show that Vermeer was an active participant in this network of artists.
“Up Close with Vermeer, Masters of Genre Painting in the Golden Age” is showing until 22 May. Website: www.louvre.fr. The Louvre is open every day except Tuesday.
From France Today magazine