When the Rijksmuseum’s Vermeer exhibition opened recently, it was praised to the skies: “Perfect,” declared the New York Times. “One of the most thrilling exhibitions ever conceived,” echoed The Guardian. “One of the great art experiences of my lifetime,” said the critic from The Sunday Times. In this engrossing and insightful documentary, Suzanne Raes chronicles the construction of this revolutionary exhibition, the largest Vermeer show ever mounted, a project that involves diplomacy, horse-trading, the keenest expertise, state-of-the-art technology, detective work, and an abiding passion.
Very little is known about the life of Johannes Vermeer, a citizen of Delft, Holland, in the mid-17th century, who died at 43 after achieving only modest success as a painter. Yet his work is revered today for his mastery of light, colour and detail, its almost uncanny veracity. Only 34 paintings are universally attributed to Vermeer, including, most famously, The Girl with the Pearl Earring, though the film dives into the complexity of attribution as it investigates two of the most contested works. Even the most dedicated and knowledgeable art historians can’t always agree on just what makes a Vermeer, a Vermeer.
Revolutionary. The exhibition itself has become a work of art. Exhibition organisers will be learning from this show for years to come.
Girl with the Pearl Earring author Tracy Chevalier on the Rijksmuseum’s Vermeer show, The Art Newspaper
In Dutch and English with English subtitles
Tuesday May 30
Thursday June 01
Monday June 05
Friday June 09
Indigenous & Community Access