The Louvre Museum, Paris opens an exceptional exhibition this week – Vermeer and the Masters of Genre Painting – in collaboration with the National Gallery of Ireland, Dublin and the National Gallery of Art, Washington. The exhibition runs from February 22, 2017 to May 22, 2017 and will present the viewers with the rare opportunity to view twelve paintings by Johannes Vermeer (1632-1675), representing a third of the known body of work by the Delft master painter. The exhibition seeks to explore the fascinating relationships of rivalry and mutual inspiration that existed between Johannes Vermeer and other Dutch genre painters of the period 1650-1675.

Vermeer and Dutch genre painting

Dutch genre paintings from the years 1650-1675 rank among the pinnacles of Western European art. Depicting scenes of everyday life, genre paintings of this period gained immense popularity in the third quarter of the 17th century, owing to the overwhelming economic prosperity of the Dutch Republic during this period.

Johannes Vermeer, who lived and worked in Delft, was one such artist among many others who specialised in depicting interior scenes of 17th-century Dutch middle-class life. While he is now revered as one of the greatest genre painters, he was only moderately successful as an artist during his lifetime and left his family destitute at the time of his death. He continued to remain in relative obscurity until the rediscovery of his works in the latter half of 19th century by Gustav Waagen, and subsequently by Théophile Thoré-Bürger, who reattributed to him several works which were previously attributed to other genre painters.

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Musée du Louvre

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