After the opening of the Vermeer exhibition at the Riksmuseum in Amsterdam. Photo by Koen van Weel (ANP/AFP/Scanpix). “The most mysterious and beloved artist of all time,” is how Vermeer is described by Taco Dibbits, the general director of the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, who accomplished the “coup of the year” in the art world – the so-called Rijksmuseum opened the largest and never-to-be-repeated exhibition of Dutch Baroque painter Johannes Exhibition of works by Vermeer (1632-1675) from Delft. And it is hard not to agree that it is the most mysterious, art critics consider. Of course, there are other, more recognizable names – Leonardo, Rembrandt, Picasso, Van Gogh – but hardly any other great artist has been as intensively studied and discussed in recent years as Vermeer. Scholars disagree on exactly how many paintings he left behind. According to experts at the Rijksmuseum, there are 37 of them, and the National Gallery of Art in Washington has 34. Be that as it may, 28 paintings exhibited in one place is unprecedented. More than 200,000 advance tickets for the exhibition, which opened last Friday, were sold over the weekend. Currently, the museum announces that there are no more tickets left, but the institution will “look for opportunities so that as many people as possible can see the exhibition” and invites you to follow the Rijksmuseum website. “Girl with a milk jug”, about 1658. Scanpix photo. According to The Guardian, the hype about the exhibition is understandable: art exhibitions are very attractive to visitors these days. In addition to permanent events such as the Biennale and Frieze, there are also “epic once-in-a-lifetime moments”. One of them is this exhibition of Vermeer’s works in Amsterdam, which is an hour’s train ride from his hometown of Delft. By the way, an adult ticket to this exhibition costs EUR 30 (normally EUR 22.50), for young people under the age of 18 it is free. The ticket can only be purchased online. The exhibition will be open until June 4. Whose Girl Is That Girl According to The New York Times, there is perhaps “no more complicated case of the vagaries of reputation than Johannes Vermeer” in European painting on the highways and lowlands. While living in Delft he was well established and his works were sold, but two centuries after his death his small and quiet paintings of women reading letters or pouring milk did not attract any attention. When in 1881 “Girl with a pearl earring” was sold at auction for just two guilders. Now Vermeer stops traffic, directs planes. And you wonder how that glow, that inner peace, doesn’t stop all hearts like it stopped mine.” “Girl with a pearl earring” before restoration in 1994. Scanpix photo. “It’s very interesting,” CNN quoted museum director T. Dibbits as saying. – I dreamed of collecting all his paintings. 28 of them are things we never thought possible.” Art critics tend to debate this number as well. For example, the National Gallery of Art in Washington recently decided that “Girl with a Flute” is not the work of the master himself, but of an unnamed follower of his. Nevertheless, the Rijksmuseum was happy to borrow the painting from the Washington institution for its exhibition, along with three other works by Vermeer, and has no intention of questioning its affiliation with the famous Dutchman. CNN reports that Pieter Roelofs, head of the Rijksmuseum’s painting and sculpture department, played down the matter, gleefully telling a Dutch newspaper that when The Girl with the Flute crossed the Atlantic, it “just became Vermeer again.” Those interested in art have seen reproductions of Vermeer’s works in books, posters, and postcards. However, the actual Girl with a Flute is surprisingly small and hangs alongside an important painting from the artist’s transitional period of evolution, Girl with a Red Hat, each measuring just 22.86 x 17.78 cm. Detail of the painting “The Lady and the Maid”. Photo by Peter Dejong (AP/Scanpix). The re-attribution is part of an exciting and comprehensive Vermeer research project involving not only the Rijksmuseum and the National Gallery of Art in Washington, but also the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. The researchers are using a special technique: a kind of non-invasive archaeology, which allows them to use methods that NASA first used to map minerals on Mars and the Moon. Museum scholars and conservators have delved beneath the meticulously painted surfaces of Vermeer’s paintings to explore the painting beneath the layers of paint, and in some cases, beneath the original sketches. The results surprised everyone. As if looking over his shoulder, Vermeer is known as a methodical, majestic artist, with magical light and bright 17th century paintings. Painter of moments of Dutch middle-class life. He immortalized simple but at the same time impressive domestic scenes: women reading or writing letters, a maid pouring milk, a woman playing the lute, a young girl fastening a pearl earring. “Vermeer depicted those moments of intense happiness where time stands still,” Dibbits told CNN. – Everything is coming together. It’s complete peace, intimacy.” It’s common to think that Vermeer took his time, painting no more than two or three paintings a year for two decades. But new research has shown that he could be impulsive, spontaneous and impatient, attacking the canvas with broad brushstrokes. Ige Verslype, curator of the Rijksmuseum, says that the exhibition allows you to follow his painting path – “as if you were looking over his shoulder and seeing what he was doing”. 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