Countdown to the themed event: Discover Vermeer’s Delft, experience the master painter’s city
Delft, 23rd January, 2023
Delft master painter Johannes Vermeer (1632-1675) is world-famous for his well-known works such as Girl with a Pearl Earring, View of Delft and The Milkmaid. The 17th-century master of light lived and worked in Delft for his entire life. Only in Delft will you discover life in his hometown, the city that inspired him and where you feel like you are stepping into a real-life Vermeer painting. From 10 February to 4 June 2023, Delft will pay tribute to Johannes Vermeer with the themed event Discover Vermeer's Delft, experience the city of the master painter. The programme of activities has been organised alongside a major Vermeer exhibition at the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam.
Exhibition Vermeer’s Delft at Museum Prinsenhof Delft
The exhibition Vermeer’s Delft focuses on the life of Johannes Vermeer, his network, and his relationship to the city of Delft. With over 100 objects from home and abroad – including masterpieces by Delft painters, handicrafts, maps, prints, drawings, books, personal documents and other archival material – the exhibition forms a clear image of Delft's vibrancy in the 17th century. This is the first time these themes have been the central focus of an exhibition on the world-famous Dutch master of light. Visitors to the exhibition are introduced to people from Vermeer’s immediate surroundings, such as his mother-in-law, Maria Thins; fellow painter, Leonaert Bramer; the family notary, Willem de Langue; collectors Maria de Knuijt and her husband Pieter van Ruijven; and master baker, Hendrick van Buyten, who was also an art collector. Visitors gain unique insight into the man behind the myth and come to understand how Vermeer eventually became one of the most beloved artists of the 17th century.
Discover the 12 Vermeer locations in Delft
In Delft's historic city centre, you will find 12 locations that played an important role in Vermeer’s life – from his birthplace to the places where he drew inspiration for his famous paintings. Many of these locations are still the same as they were in Vermeer's time and are an absolute must-visit when enjoying a day in Delft.
Guild of Saint Luke, now Vermeer Centrum Delft, Voldersgracht 21
In the 17th and 18th centuries, Voldersgracht 21 housed the Guild of Saint Luke, which Vermeer, following in his father’s footsteps, joined in 1653. Fine artists, decorative painters, stained-glass artists, sculptors, and engravers, but also ceramicists, book printers, and art dealers could join the guild. Today, it is home to Vermeer Centrum Delft. This is the only place in the world where you can admire Vermeer's entire oeuvre through full-scale reproductions. Be transported back to the 17th century and immerse yourself in Vermeer’s paintings, life, family, and artistic techniques.
View of Delft from the Hooikade
The painting View of Delft is the most famous city view from the Dutch 17th century. It shows a view from the upper-storey of a house on the Hooikade and depicts the harbour’s south side. The interplay of light and shadow, the impressive cloudy sky, and the subtle reflections on the water make this painting an absolute masterpiece. The same view can still be admired today, and the exact location where Vermeer painted View of Delft can be found at the Hooikade, just a 10-minute walk away from the city centre.
Oude Kerk (Old Church), HH Geestkerkhof 25
In the second week of December 1675, Johannes Vermeer died after falling ill only a day and a half earlier. On 15 December 1675, his burial was recorded in the burial register of Delft's Oude Kerk (Old Church). Here, his mother-in-law had her own crypt in which some of Vermeer’s deceased children were also buried. You can still see the memorial stone. Possibly, Vermeer’s early death was a result of his worries and stress about money. Due to a terrible war in 1672 between the Netherlands, France, and England, the art trade came to a halt and Vermeer was not able to sell his own work or the many works by other artists he represented as an art dealer. Vermeer died a pauper, leaving his wife with significant financial woes.
During the event, there will be all kinds of activities dedicated to Vermeer throughout the city. In addition, visitors will have the opportunity to buy unique Vermeer products. Take a guided tour through the historic city centre and discover the places that were important in shaping Vermeer’s life. Or join the historic Vermeer beer walk and imagine living in the same epoch when Johannes Vermeer was walking around Delft. Did you know that contemporary and fellow painter Jan Steen ran a brewery on Oude Delft, or that Antonie van Leeuwenhoek made an important discovery that influenced beer? René Jacobs, a well-known Delft visual artist, will be exhibiting his work Another Vermeer at Vermeer Centrum Delft. He has created more than 100 artworks based on Vermeer, such as Girl with a Pearl Earring, in just 16 years. In the Oude Kerk, Caroline Sikkenk will be exhibiting her work Pearls of Light, also inspired by the famous artist.
During the Vermeer events, Delft’s city centre will be buzzing. For anyone planning to participate in multiple activities, our combo ticket will come in handy. These tickets can be used at Museum Prinsenhof Delft, Vermeer Centrum Delft, the Royal Delft Museum, Rondvaart Delft, the Oude Kerk, and the Nieuwe Kerk. This ticket enables visitors to participate in the most important and fun activities at an affordable price. Combo tickets for the Vermeer activities are available at delft.com/vermeer and at VVV Delft (NS Train Station Delft, Stationsplein 7).
Note to editors
Contact: Ditte Ooms
T: 06 – 1034 7129
For visual material: https://delft.pr.co/media_kits/categories/1594/
The city-wide programme was made possible by Province of South Holland and the municipality of Delft