Vermeer and the Masters of Genre Painting

Johannes Vermeer, Woman Writing a Letter with her Maid, c. 1664-1666, oil on panel, 28 7/16 x 23.5 inches (National Gallery of Ireland, Dublin, Sir Alfred and Lady Beit, 1987, Beit Collection, © National Gallery of Ireland)
Johannes Vermeer, Woman Writing a Letter with her Maid, c. 1664-1666, oil on panel, 28 7/16 x 23.5 inches (National Gallery of Ireland, Dublin, Sir Alfred and Lady Beit, 1987, Beit Collection, © National Gallery of Ireland)

Karen S. Chambers reviews Vermeer and the Masters of Genre Painting: Inspiration and Rivalry at the National Gallery of Art, Washington D.C., on view through Jan. 21, 2018.

Chambers writes: "The National Gallery of Art ... has assembled what may be the definitive exhibition of 17th-century Dutch high-life genre painting, which focuses on the daily lives of the elite. Among the 65 paintings are 10 by Johannes Vermeer, nearly a third of the 34 works attributed to him. The curators of this exhibition ... deserve high praise for accomplishing that, but by including works by 14 of Vermeer’s contemporaries, they’ve given us a framework by which to judge the master."

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