Vermeer Exhibition, Rijksmuseum: February 10 – June 4, 2023
Estimated reading time: 13 minutes
This article is about a past event. We keep it online for its historical value.
Table of contents
- Vermeer Exhibition, Rijksmuseum: February 10 – June 4, 2023
- Vermeer Exhibition Breaks Visitor Record
- Largest Retrospective Exhibition of Johannes Vermeer Paintings Ever
- Tickets for the Vermeer Exhibition at Rijksmuseum Sold Out
- Vermeer Exhibition Online
- These Vermeer Paintings Can Still Be Viewed After The Exhibition
- Missed Vermeer? Rijksmuseum Has More To Offer
- Rijksmuseum: Most Important Art Museum in the Netherlands
- Johannes Vermeer Paintings at the Rijksmuseum
- Largest Vermeer Exhibition: Once in a Lifetime Opportunity
- Vermeer’s Homecoming
- More Vermeer Paintings?
- These Eight Paintings Will Not Be Part of the Vermeer Exhibition
- Stolen Vermeer Painting: The Concert
- Girl With a Pearl Earring: Temporarily at the Rijksmuseum
- List of Paintings in the Vermeer Exhibition
- Take a Virtual Tour of Vermeer’s Most Famous Paintings
- Learn More About Johannes Vermeer
The Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam in 2023 organized a “once in a lifetime” exhibition of works by Johannes Vermeer — one of the greatest painters of the Dutch Golden Age.
Vermeer Exhibition Breaks Visitor Record
The Vermeer exhibition is the most visited exposition in the history of the Rijksmuseum, reports the museum. (Bear in mind that the museum first opened its doors in 1885).
A total of 650,000 people came to the Rijksmuseum for the event. Most of them came from the Netherlands, but the museum also had many visitors from France, Germany and the United Kingdom.
The previous attendance record was set in 2015 with the exhibition “The Late Rembrandt,” which attracted 520,698 visitors in three months. That was 60,000 more than the previous record, held by a Rembrandt exhibition in 1969.
Largest Retrospective Exhibition of Johannes Vermeer Paintings Ever
28 of the 37 known paintings by the 17th century master Johannes Vermeer were on display from February 10, 2023 through June 4, 2023 at the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam.
This is the largest retrospective exhibition of Johannes Vermeer paintings ever. The previous largest Vermeer exhibition, with 22 paintings, took place 27 years ago at Mauritshuis in The Hague.
It is highly unlikely there will ever be another Vermeer exhibition anywhere in the world as extensive as this one.
Tickets for the Vermeer Exhibition at Rijksmuseum Sold Out
Even before the highly anticipated exhibition opened, art lovers purchased 200,000 tickets. By February 11, the second day of the exhibition, all 450,000 tickets had been sold.
By extending opening hours Rijksmuseum was able to make extra tickets available. But interest was so high that the museum’s website crashed within minutes. The site was repeatedly unavailable for over week.
Vermeer Exhibition Online
If you missed out on the exhibition — or if you want to know more about Vermeer and his pantings — take a free, virtual Vermeer tour, narrated by Stephen Fry. It displays all the paintings in the exhibit — including the seven paintings which have never been on view in the Netherlands before.
You can either follow Fry’s presentation (a real, informative pleasure), or create your own tour.
These Vermeer Paintings Can Still Be Viewed After The Exhibition
From 7 June to 10 October, six paintings by Vermeer will remain on display in the Rijksmuseum.
The Girl in the Red Hat (National Gallery of Art, Washington) and Young Woman at the Virginal (The Leiden Collection, New York) will then be shown together with the four works by Vermeer from the museum’s own collection:
- The Milkmaid (Het melkmeisje) (ca. 1658-1659)
- View of Houses in Delft, known as ‘The Little Street’ (Gezicht op huizen in Delft, ‘Het straatje’) (1658-1659)
- The Love Letter (De liefdesbrief) (ca. 1669-1670)
- Woman in Blue Reading a Letter (Brieflezende vrouw in blauw) (ca. 1662-1664)
These paintings can be viewed in the museum’s Gallery of Honour [For details, see this detailed Rijksmuseum information]
Missed Vermeer? Rijksmuseum Has More To Offer
If you were unable to attain tickets for the Vermeer exhibition, you will still enjoy seeing everything else the Rijksmuseum has to offer. Not just the world famous Night Watch by Rembrandt, but a tremendous collection of Dutch art.
No wonder this is the most visited museum not just in Amsterdam, but in the entire country of the Netherlands.
A visit to Amsterdam is not complete without a tour of the Rijksmuseum.
GetYourGuide, our trusted ticket partner, has skip-the-line entry tickets, guided tours, or combination tickets:
Rijksmuseum: Most Important Art Museum in the Netherlands
The Rijksmuseum (National Museum) is the most important art museum in the Netherlands. It is dedicated to Dutch art and history. A must-see museum for any visitor to Amsterdam, its masterpieces by Rembrandt, Frans Hals, Johannes Vermeer and Jan Steen are particularly popular.
Among the Rijksmuseum’s world-famous paintings are Rembrandt’s Night Watch, Portrait of a Couple by Frans Hals, The Milkmaid by Johannes Vermeer, and The Merry Family by Jan Steen.
Johannes Vermeer Paintings at the Rijksmuseum
Aside from The Milkmaid, the Rijksmuseum owns three other works by Vermeer: The Love Letter, The Little Street, and Woman Reading a Letter. All other paintings in the special exhibition are on loan from museums throughout the world.
Largest Vermeer Exhibition: Once in a Lifetime Opportunity
Due to the renovation of The Frick Collection in New York, the three Vermeers from that collection — Officer and Laughing Girl, Girl Interrupted at Her Music, and Mistress and Maid — are by rare exception allowed to travel.
A rare exception indeed because Henry Clay Frick, the founder of the museum, stipulated in his will that the works he bequeathed could not be lent. They were to never leave his former home on Fifth Avenue.
When The Frick Collection’s renovation project was first announced, in 2015, the Rijksmuseum started efforts to bring the museum’s three Vermeers to the Netherlands.
“The magic word was homecoming” Roelofs told Amsterdam-based daily newspaper Het Parool. “The Americans turned out to be sensitive to that. Like us, they think it is important to introduce a new generation to Vermeer. Because if you’re under forty now, you’ve never had the chance to see a Vermeer exhibition.”
It is the first time in history that the Frick Collection in New York is loaning all three of Vermeer’s paintings from its collection together.
“That was the reason for the Rijksmuseum to organize this Vermeer exhibition,” says Pieter Roelofs, Head of Paintings and Sculpture.1
“It is often said that something is a ‘once in a lifetime’ opportunity, which makes it a bit of an empty slogan, but this is really not going to happen again,” Roelofs says.
More Vermeer Paintings?
Last November Rijksmuseum curator Roelofs said one of two additional painting might be coming to Amsterdam as well, “but the chance is very small because there are paintings that are too fragile. That is a no go for us — a painting can itself state whether it can travel. We will never argue with that. But what can travel, comes.”
Eight known Vermeer paintings will not be part of the exhibition.
These Eight Paintings Will Not Be Part of the Vermeer Exhibition
Eight known Vermeer paintings will not be part of the Rijksmuseum’s exhibition:
Stolen Vermeer Painting: The Concert
There is one additional painting that is not included in the exhibition — because it has been stolen:
Girl With a Pearl Earring: Temporarily at the Rijksmuseum
Note that Vermeer’s most famous painting, Girl With a Pearl Earring, will only be on display at the Rijksmuseum until March 30, 2023.
As of April 1, 2023, the painting is again on display at Mauritshuis in The Hague. Museum director Martine Gosseling explains to Financieel Dagblad, “That’s when the flower bulb season starts, our high season. Many visitors from Japan, China and Korea combine a visit to the Keukenhof with a visit to the Mauritshuis.”
Vermeer’s brilliant use of light and color in his intimate domestic scenes earned him the title, “The Master of Light.”
List of Paintings in the Vermeer Exhibition
This is a list of paintings in the Vermeer exhibition at the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam. We show the English titles, the official Dutch titles, and the approximate date the work was painted. Also shown are the names of the art institutions that have kindly lent the paintings to the Rijksmuseum.
The Frick Collection, New York
Gemäldegalerie – Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, Berlin
Gemäldegalerie Alte Meister, Dresden
The Leiden Collection, New York
Mauritshuis, The Hague
The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York
Musée du Louvre, Paris
The National Museum of Western Art, Tokyo
National Galleries of Scotland, Edinburgh
The National Gallery, London
National Gallery of Art, Washington
National Gallery of Ireland, Dublin
Städel Museum, Frankfurt am Main
Take a Virtual Tour of Vermeer’s Most Famous Paintings
Nothing beats seeing Vermeer’s paintings in person. But if you cannot do so, nothing prevents you from taking a virtual tour of Vermeer’s most famous works through Google Street View.
Learn More About Johannes Vermeer
This video is from a wonderful YouTube channel called The Art Tourist. Each episode is written and hosted by Rachel, an art journalist-turned-copywriter at The Met, and produced by her husband Jason, a New York City art technician. They promise their videos are “free of charge and impenetrable jargon, but abundant in fascinating facts, illuminating analyses, and entertaining anecdotes.” We think they succeeded. (And we love the two cats).
About this article
This article about the Vermeer Exhibition was written by Anton, Jan, and the rest of the DutchAmsterdam team. We were lucky enough to obtain tickets to this event. We truly enjoyed the paintings, the way they were presented, and the fact that it never seemed too busy to vieuw each of the pantings up close.
Our write-up includes information from the Rijksmuseum, Mauritshuis, The Frick Collection, newspapers Financieel Dagblad and Het Parool, Dutch broadcaster NOS, and several other sources.
Last updated CET (Central European Time)
Do not republish or repost.