Vermeer and the Masters of Genre Painting: Inspiration and Rivalry

Vermeer and the Masters of Genre Painting: Inspiration and Rivalry

17 June – 17 September 2017
Beit Wing, Rooms 6–10 | Admission charge

This exhibition explored the fascinating network of relationships between Vermeer and Dutch genre painters of the period 1650 to 1675, providing insight into how Vermeer and his contemporaries admired, inspired and rivalled each other.

Conceived by the National Gallery of Ireland, this exhibition brought together over 60 paintings from around the world. As many as ten works by Johannes Vermeer (1632–1675) were included in the exhibition, which represents almost a third of Vermeer’s surviving oeuvre and the third highest number of works by the artist ever assembled in the world.

The National Gallery of Ireland’s Vermeer, Lady Writing a Letter, with her Maid, c.1670, which is regarded as one of the artist’s finest works, was shown alongside other exquisite works including Woman with a Balance, c.1663–1664 (National Gallery of Art, Washington); Woman with a Pearl Necklace, 1663–1664 (Staatliche Museen zu Berlin); The Astronomer, 1668 (Musée du Louvre, Paris) and The Geographer, 1669 (Städel Museum, Frankfurt-am-Main). Paintings of daily life by contemporaries of Vermeer, including Gerrit Dou, Gerard ter Borch, Jan Steen, Gabriel Metsu, Pieter de Hooch and Frans van Mieris, also featured. 

The exhibition was organised by the National Gallery of Ireland in collaboration with the Musée du Louvre, Paris, and the National Gallery of Art, Washington. An illustrated catalogue (published by Yale University Press) accompanied the exhibition, complemented by a dedicated website, In addition, the Gallery organised a wide-ranging public engagement programme of events. You can download an education programme guide here

Curator | Dr Adriaan Waiboer, National Gallery of Ireland

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The National Gallery of Ireland welcomes the support of Zurich Insurance plc as Exhibition Partner 



A once in a lifetime experience

Vermeer and the Masters of Genre Painting