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Rijksmuseum to host biggest ever exhibition of work by Vermeer

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Amsterdam’s Rijksmuseum is to host what it says will be the largest ever exhibition of works by Vermeer ever held.

The retrospective of works by the 17th century master is a collaboration with the Mauritshuis museum in The Hague and will include the world-famous Milkmaid and The Girl with a Pearl Earring as well as loans from all over the world. The exhibition will take place in spring 2023.

‘Vermeer is one of the most famous painters in the Netherlands, along with Rembrandt, Van Gogh and Mondrian,’ said Rijksmuseum director Taco Dibbits.

‘We would not have thought it possible that so many museums are willing to lend their masterpieces. We are incredibly grateful to them. With this exhibition we can introduce a new generation to Vermeer’s painting at the highest level and present the results of the latest research.’

The Rijksmuseum said it is working closely with the Mauritshuis with a team of curators, restorers and natural scientists to examine in depth the seven paintings by Vermeer in Dutch possession. Four of them, including the Milkmaid, are in the Rijksmuseum collection.

Johannes Vermeer (1632-1675) lived and worked in Delft. He is best known for his tranquil, introverted indoor scenes, his unprecedented use of bright, colourful light and his convincing illusionism.

Vermeer left a remarkably small oeuvre of about 35 paintings, 23 of which were shown together at the Mauritshuis in 1996. Dibbits told the Guardian more paintings will be included in the new exhibition but the exact total still has to be finalised and negotiations with some museums are still ongoing.

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