At the end of the nineteenth century, Vermeer's Girl with a Pearl Earring sold for a pittance, an unknown work by an artist who was only beginning to achieve recognition. Today it is revered as a great masterpiece, so famous that it is recognizable by its title alone, with the name of its maker being almost superfluous. This lecture examines the reasons this image resonates so profoundly with contemporary audiences.
Dutch genre paintings of the seventeenth century show individuals in domestic settings going about their daily activities, such as letter writing, eating and drinking, or making music. Many of these seemingly straightforward scenes, however, contain moral lessons that are difficult for us to decipher today. This lecture deals with the paintings' various levels of interpretation by focusing on examples drawn from the Mauritshuis collection, some of which were featured in the special exhibition Vermeer, Rembrandt, and Hals: Masterpieces of Dutch Painting from the Mauritshuis.
Noted art critic and historian Hans den Hartog Jager interviewed Dutch photographer Rineke Dijkstra, known for her remarkable oeuvre of large-scale portraits, which were featured in a retrospective at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum last year. The artist discussed the relationship of contemporary photography and her own work to paintings by such artists as Rembrandt and Vermeer.
―This program was made possible through the generous support of the Drue Heinz Trust.
The Royal Picture Gallery Mauritshuis combines a truly great collection of Dutch and Flemish paintings with the spectacular setting of a seventeenth-century city palace in the historic center of The Hague. This lecture traces the history of the Mauritshuis's collection and the building that houses it, and offers a behind-the-scenes view of the current renovation and expansion of the museum.