High Road to Culture in Flanders and the Netherlands


High Road to Culture in Flanders and the Netherlands


More Vermeer

Amsterdam’s Rijksmuseum has gathered together 28 of Johannes Vermeer’s 37 known paintings from around the world. Here you can read all our stories about the famous seventeenth-century Dutch master.

Jasmijn Postcollage
3 min reading time

Jasmijn Post: The Corset

Jasmijn Post brings the painting 'The Love Letter' by Johannes Vermeer to life. We listen to a woman whose feelings are restricted by social conventions.

800px Jan Vermeer van Delft 019

Reality and Art in the Work of Jan Dibbets and Johannes Vermeer

Johannes Vermeer painted the essence of his subjects with such fidelity that three hundred years later we are convinced that this is what Dutch interiors were like in Delft in the Golden Age. Even when conscientious scholars prove the reverse, Vermeer's vision is so strong that this recently gained knowledge does not affect our attitude towards his paintings. Dibbets' interpretation of striking architectural features is similar. In their endeavour to create compositions of great strength both Vermeer and Dibbets manipulate reality. The rules of their art defy reality, because their art exists independent of reality.

Blue letter vermeer

Woman in Blue Reading a Letter. An Approach to Viewing Vermeer

A ‘Vermeer', like a ‘Rembrandt' or a ‘Van Gogh', is something more than a painting. A ‘Vermeer', whether it be a painting of a young girl in a turban, a woman with a watering can, a lady with a balance, or a music lesson, will bring associations with it that transcend any of these specific images. Hidden somewhere within an appreciation of it are memories of other impressions: the quiescence of a woman — deep in thoughts — reading a letter, the soft light effects that play across a woman adjusting her pearl necklace, or the delicate nuances of blues and yellows that transmit the serenity of a woman writing a letter. Vermeer's images, whether of a single figure lost in thought or of a quiet street scene, are intimate ones that remind us of moments or experiences in our lives so fleeting that we were hardly aware of their existence. Vermeer's genius was to capture their beauty and to transmit it to us in a way that we can relate to our own experiences.

800px Johannes Vermeer Gezicht op huizen in Delft bekend als Het straatje Google Art Project

What I like about Vermeer

A personal appreciation of the famous 17th-century Dutch Master, whose art is both specific and general: historical and transcending history. His paintings take up the challenge to determine themselves.


Double Dutch in Dublin

‘Oh … I thought they were by Vermeer!’ This comment is frequently expressed by visitors to the National Gallery of Ireland upon seeing the wall text next to Gabriel Metsu’s Man Writing a Letter and Woman Reading a Letter. Personally, I do not blame people for misidentifying the artist of these pendants, as they look more Vermeer-like than any other work by contemporary artists. In fact, I have sometimes wondered myself whether Metsu deliberately painted works that might be mistaken for Vermeer’s.

1 Rembrandt van Rijn Zelfportret 1634 ets Rijksmuseum Amsterdam
14 min reading time

The Malleable Rembrandt

Dutch art often appears in debates about identity, and this always happens in terms of what is 'own' and 'foreign' to it. Rembrandt in particular turns out to be very 'malleable'.

Metsu old drinker
0 min reading time

Gabriel Metsu, more Famous than Vermeer Once

The painter Metsu, one of the most valued painters of his own time, is enjoying somewhat of a comeback. He combined Dou's formal language with Ter Borch's subjects and was a master at conveying light and shade.

1200px Vermeer view of delft
For subscribers

With A Poet's Eye. A Few Dutch Poems on Dutch Paintings

The author considers different relationships between poet and painting. In fact, the writing of poems based on paintings seems to have become a national sport in the Netherlands. Brueghel, Rembrandt, Cuyp, Vermeer, Asselijn inspired Enquist, Kopland, Boutens, van Toorn, Leeflang and Eijkelboom.

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