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Old Masters Picture Gallery in Dresden Explores the Young Johannes Vermeer
Staff members observe the different variants of the painting 'Girl Reading a Letter at an Open Window' (1659) by Dutch artist Johannes Vermeer at the Old Masters Picture Gallery in Dresden, Germany, 03 September 2010. The special exhibition 'The early Vermeer' takes place until 28 November 2010. EPA/MATTHIAS HIEKEL.

DRESDEN.- The oeuvre of the famous painter Johannes Vermeer (1632-1675) of Delft is surprisingly small and only comprises of 36 works. From 3 September to 28 November, 2010 the Gemäldegalerie Alte Meister presents in its exhibition “The Young Vermeer” four paintings by the master of Dutch painting of the 17th century. The exhibition will be enriched by significant artworks of other painters of his time. Within the scope of an international museum cooperation, the Gemäldegalerie in Dresden, the Mauritshuis in Den Haag and the National Gallery of Scotland in Edinburgh each present three early works by Vermeer: “Diana and Her Companions”, around 1653/54; “Christ in the House of Martha and Mary”, around 1654/55 as well as “The Procuress”, 1656. The exhibition’s second station, Dresden, is characterized by an extraordinarily enlarged concept.

In Dresden, each of the three early works is confronted with other artworks, where Vermeer’s search for his own style as well as his distinction from his role models becomes especially apparent. National and international loans of artworks by famous artists such as Jacob van Loo, Jan van Bijlert, Matteo Rosselli and Simon Peter Tilmann offer views into Vermeer’s early period of picture development. Moreover, the Dresden exhibit provides insight into Delft painting, which framed the background for Vermeer’s primary artistic context, with works by Pieter de Hooch, Gerard ter Borch, Hendrick van Vliet, Emanuel de Witte among others.

In the third part of the exhibition, the three early works by the artist will be complemented by a fourth from the holdings of the Gemäldegalerie Alte Meister. The painting “Girl Reading a Letter by an Open Window”, around 1659, belongs to his interior paintings and positions itself at the beginning of a series of artworks, which became characteristic of his oeuvre since the end of the 1650s. In 1742, the painting entered into the possession of the Gemäldegalerie Alte Meister and has been presented in a gilded rococo frame, the so-called Dresden Gallery Frame, ever since. After more than 250 years, the painting will now be displayed in a typical Dutch decorative frame for the first time. A selection of important artistic craftworks, such as furniture, vases, glasses and dishes, will accompany the presentation and will illustrate its process of origin. In addition, professors, docents and students of the Hochschule für Bildende Künste Dresden rebuilt the chamber of the “girl reading a letter” true to the original and to the scale. From decoration to colours and costumes, the accessible Vermeer room is open to artists and visitors as a site for experience and experiment.

Gemäldegalerie Alte Meister | Johannes Vermeer | Jacob van Loo | Jan van Bijlert |

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